College Democrats host voter registration drive ahead of midterm elections

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Contributing Photo Editor

Bridget Anzano, the president of College Democrats, said the group will lead a voter registration drive in Kogan Plaza Monday.

Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 at 12:01 p.m.

GW College Democrats are pushing for more students to cast their ballots in the November midterm elections.

For the first time, the group is partnering with the Democratic National Committee to set up a table in Kogan Plaza Monday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for students to stop by and register to vote. Members of the group said that ahead of midterm elections, they want to motivate younger students to vote – especially if they won’t be in their home states in November.

College Democrats members participating in the drive anticipate registering more than 100 students throughout the day. Bridget Anzano, the president of College Democrats, said the tabling will serve two purposes: to register more students to vote and garner more interest in the organization.

“This tabling event is aimed at meeting new students and raising awareness about Dems and our mission,” Anzano said.

The DNC is donating t-shirts to volunteers, and College Democrats will allow new members to pay dues. Executive board members will also staff the table to provide information to students about the organization, she said.

College Democrats advertised the event through its website and Facebook page. The group will also host another registration table in Square 80 on Sept. 25, National Voter Registration Day.

“Increasing young voter turnout, especially as we approach the 2018 midterm season, is crucial,” Anzano said in an email. “We aim to be a vessel through which politically curious students can become engaged, so we feel that it is our responsibility to provide students the resources they need to do so.”

Voter turnout is relatively low among college-age students, whereas middle-aged citizens are more than twice as likely to vote as 18- to 24-year-olds, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Alexander Hupp, a member of College Democrats who will volunteer at the tabling session, said the registration table will ensure students have an absentee ballot sent to them if they can’t go back to their home state or don’t know “the ins and outs of how their state’s voter registration works.”

About 15 members of College Democrats will volunteer during different shifts of the event Monday, he said.

“They may think that since they won’t be in their home state for the election, then they can’t vote, which is simply false,” Hupp said in an email. “It’s part of our job to explain how absentee ballots work and how it’s perfectly OK to vote in your home state’s elections even though you’re out of state studying.”

The University also recently partnered with the online service TurboVote, which facilitates voter registration and sends reminders about upcoming elections.

Phil Kim, the DNC’s associate director of community engagement, said DNC members will help the College Democrats set up the registration table through the New Blue Crew – a political program that organizes events for students to register to vote on different campuses. New Blue Crew has also helped schools like University of Wisconsin – Madison hold voter registration drives.

He said it is the DNC’s responsibility to equip young leaders “with the right tools and opportunities to lead from the front.”

“Everyone at the DNC believes in the importance of voter registration and making sure that young voters have access to the ballot and the opportunity to amplify their voice,” Kim said in an email.

Amanda Hillware contributed reporting.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the Democratic National Committee gave t-shirts to students who registered to vote. The organization donated t-shirts to the volunteers who worked at the table. We regret this error.

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