GW Votes attempts to register 500 students

GW Votes will host a rally and volunteer effort Tuesday in an attempt to register 500 students to vote in the District in one night, campaign director Adam Siple said.

The event – GW 500 – will kick off this year’s effort to involve more students in local city politics.

“Here you are, one big vote in a very small electoral base and that gives you a greater impact on politics,” Siple said.

GW Votes began organizing last spring but will begin its voter registration efforts in earnest this fall, Siple said.

Volunteers from the group already have registered about 300 people, most of whom are freshmen, Siple said. The campaign aims to register at least 1,000 voters by the Nov. 3 election.

Siple notes that some students prefer to register in their home state, but he said registering to vote in D.C. has its perks.

“You can’t really stay in tune with the issues at home and you begin to make uneducated guesses,” Siple said. “But in D.C., you are in an active community, you are a better voter. It’s easier to vote, and your vote counts more.”

Student votes could be a deciding factor in the upcoming elections – three GW undergraduate students and several GW alumni are running for Advisory Neighborhood Commission seats in the Foggy Bottom area.

Although voter registration tables are set up around campus, Siple said he believes meeting students “face to face and door to door” will allow GW Votes volunteers to spread the word more effectively.

Volunteers will meet on the Quad at 7 p.m. Tuesday and form teams of about five people. Each team will be sent to a residence hall, where they will go door to door to register voters. The teams will offer students information about GW Votes and D.C. elections, Siple said.

“If we have 50 volunteers that means each person will only have to register 10 people to reach our goal of 500,” he said.

A command center will be set up in the Marvin Center, where the teams can call in their results. Volunteers will not return to the Quad until at least 500 people have been registered.

But when the teams do return, there will be music and food to celebrate their efforts.

GW 500 is cosponsored by the Student Association and the Residence Hall Association, but Siple said GW Votes welcomes other student groups to get involved in its events.

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