Last weekend myself and four other students — senior Carly Turro, senior Jeremy Bennett, senior Carrie Wagner, and first-year Molly Emmett — volunteered for the Obama Campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania. We spent the entire day canvassing neighborhoods, going door to door talking to undecided voters. It was the first trip of the semester to help the campaign: it will not be last, and it will not be the only way that Colgate Students will be able to help Barack Obama in October. By the time this issue of the Maroon-News goes to publication, there will be 32 days until the election. I promise that in that time there will be many ways for Colgate students to make sure Barack Obama is the next President of the United States.
The best way that we can help Barack Obama is by assisting his campaign in the swing states. The campaign has identified 15 particular states as ‘battleground’ areas, which include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Iowa and Colorado. The three ways we will do our part are by canvassing in PA, calling voters in the swing states and voting absentee.
Pennsylvania is the closest of the swing states to Colgate so our canvassing efforts will be there. We will make other trips to Scranton on October 11, October 25 and the weekend before the election. On Saturday, September 27, we left Colgate at 9 a. m. and got back before 9 p. m. the same day. This may sound early, but I was able to get up even after properly celebrating the first debate. Anyway, we arrived in Scranton shortly after 11 a. m., joining students from Vassar, NYU and various Pennsylvania colleges. After an entertaining training session we hit the streets. Six hours later, Colgate had knocked on over 200 doors, spoke with 74 voters and registered 20 people to vote in their correct addresses. The group as a whole knocked on over 2,000 doors and spoke with over 600 voters, registering 156 in the process. For future trips we will be using Colgate Vans and the cost of food will again be subsidized through the College Democrats.
If you cannot make it to one of the canvassing trips, please come phone bank with us. Phone banking is a great way to connect with voters. You can remind people to go to the polls, answer their questions and allay their concerns about Barack Obama. Volunteering your time to call voters shows your commitment and gives you a way to affect the outcome of the election. Our first phone-banking event was held on October 1, where we called Pennsylvanians. We have three other dates scheduled for phone banks (October 14, October 28, and November 3) but there will probably be more.
Finally, REGISTER TO VOTE AND GET AN ABSENTEE BALLOT. Absentee ballots are usually only counted when an election is very close. If you are from a swing state please make sure that you get registered and send in your absentee ballot. Most predictions say that the swing states will be so close that the outcomes will come down to tallying up the absentee votes, your votes. The 15 swing states are Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin. There are approximately 670 Colgate students from those states. Those are numbers that cannot be ignored and need to be empowered.