College Dems Hold Voter Registration Drive

Representatives+of+College+Democrats+tabled+a+voter+registration+drive+on+the+Lowenstein+plaza.+%28Harry+Huggins%2FThe+Observer%29++
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College Dems Hold Voter Registration Drive

Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza. (Harry Huggins/The Observer)

Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza. (Harry Huggins/The Observer)

Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza. (Harry Huggins/The Observer)

Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza. (Harry Huggins/The Observer)

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Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza. (Harry Huggins/The Observer)

By Harry Huggins
News Co-Editor
Published: February 1, 2012

This week through Feb. 2, and next month, Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC) College Democrats organization will be registering eligible students to vote in time for this spring’s presidential primaries and the general election in November. Eligible students include all those who will be at least 18 years of age at the time of voting, are U.S. citizens and are not registered to vote in another state.

Although the organization itself is affiliated with the Democratic Party, they will provide registration material to any and all interested and eligible students. They will seal the voter registration forms themselves and send them to the proper voting authorities.

“You can pick any party, you just check off which one you want,” explained Julien Martinez, FCLC ’13, president of FCLC’s College Democrats. “Not all last year registered as Democrats. We had a few independents and one Libertarian.”

After doing a similar registration push for one day last year, Martinez wanted to expand the days this year to reflect the importance of voting in this year’s election. “Students’ voices definitely need to be heard in this election,” Martinez said. “The percentage of voters is terrible in this country. 2008 was the highest in terms of percentages voting, but it needs to be more consistent.”

According to the U.S. Census, student-aged voters (those aged 18-24) had the lowest turnouts in New York and in the United States in general in the 2008 presidential election.

Martinez thinks that this year will be the year to buck that trend. “We did only one day of registration last year and got 15 people, so our goal this year is to get 10 or 15 registrations every day,” Martinez said.

As of writing, they have met their expectations, registering 11 students on Jan. 30 on their first day of tabling and five students in one hour of tabling on Jan. 31. A majority of those registered were already registered but needed to change their address to their Fordham residency, and many had questions about the age requirements and in what district they would be voting.

One student the College Democrats registered is Umma Saima, FCLC ’14. Saima explains her choice to register as part of a bigger trend. “The whole point of voting is for your voice to be heard,” Saima said, “and now is a very important time to be heard. The government is trying to take more control of our lives, and now is a time to say something about it.”

Renee Pawaroo, FCLC ’14 also registered to vote Monday, but for a simpler purpose. “I want to be a good citizen and fulfill my duties,” Pawaroo said. “I never voted before; it’s exciting.”

Like many students, Saima is still deliberating her choice for president: “I haven’t considered all the candidates, but I do know who my dad is voting for and all his positive things. But I haven’t compared him to the other candidates yet.”