More than 75 students register to vote in D.C.


Patrick Kennedy, president of GW's chapter of DC Students Speak – a group of students across D.C. who lobby for a student voice in local debates – ran a drive last week to register students to vote in city elections. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Frankie Kane.

More than 75 students signed up to vote in District elections during a voter registration drive held by a political engagement group last week.

About 60 additional students picked up voter registration forms to file on their own during a registration campaign, Patrick Kennedy, president of the GW chapter of DC Students Speak – an organization of cross-town college students who lobby for greater influence in local politics – said.

The chapter organized a registration drive Feb. 27 to March 2, manning high-traffic parts of campus such as Kogan Plaza and H Street to sign up students before the March 5 cutoff date to register to vote in D.C.’s April 3 primary election for seats on the D.C. Council. Chapters at other city colleges, like Georgetown and American universities, held drives as well.

“It was tremendously successful,” Kennedy said.

During the 2008 and 2010 elections, the District saw just 13 votes from individuals between the ages of 18 and 22, Karen Brooks, registrar of votes for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, said. None of those voters lived in Ward 2A. Brooks said forms for newly registered voters this year are being processed and the numbers will not be available until next week.

Kennedy said the majority of students who signed up said they were registered in their home states and never considered registering in the District. But they were swayed into switching to avoid arranging for absentee ballots.

“We told people that if they hadn’t requested their absentee [ballot] they’re probably not going to get it in time for their primary,” he said.

The nearest polling location to the Foggy Bottom Campus for the April 3 election is the School Without Walls.

American University sophomore Michael Panek, the president of DC Students Speak, said the organization collected 129 registration forms District-wide, excluding the forms from Georgetown University, for which he has not yet received data. About 40 individuals registered at American University, while just more than a handful registered at Catholic and Howard universities.

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