As the 2016 presidential election approaches, multiple organizations at Colgate are reaching out to young voters. Young adults (ages 18-29) made up 21 percent of the voting eligible population in 2014, but the voting record for this demographic has decreased over the past several years. According to the United States Census Bureau’s voting data, less than half of eligible young adult voters will make it to the polls for a national presidential election. However, the College Democrats, the College Republicans and Colgate for Hillary each seek to bring more Colgate students to the polls on November 8.
Colgate for Hillary President junior Andrew DeFrank discussed some of the organization’s efforts to get out to vote.
“We’d like to have weekly phone banks throughout the semester,” DeFrank said. “We’d also like to host debate watch parties. We want to canvass, and actually go to Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania is widely considered to be a battleground for the presidential election. Virginia is also considered to be a quintessential battleground state, and DeFrank hopes to bring Colgate for Hillary’s canvassing efforts there as well.
“If we get 40 people [to sign up], we would get a free trip to Virginia to go canvass,” DeFrank said. “The Virginia campaign is willing to pay for us, if we got a big enough group, to go to Virginia for the big final weekend.”
College Democrats President senior Bryan Dewan discussed his group’s coordination with Colgate for Hillary.
“We are also working with Colgate for Hillary. We’re going to potentially go do election canvassing with them. We’re coordinating closely with them, although we are two separate organizations, to do more Hillary-specific [events],” Dewan said.
As a long-standing group at Colgate, the College Democrats are also hoping to host events with the College Republicans.
“We hope that we can bring a lot of people [together] to talk about the issues and the election, and talk about the candidates, and have a thoughtful, engaging and respectful discussion on campus,” Dewan said. “Emphasis on respectful, because the College Democrats is really about respecting the other sides. We do a lot of events with the College Republicans, and we really try to create a good environment for that.”
The College Republicans are working closely with students to encourage community members to get out and vote.
“We encourage all of our members to make their voices heard this November. Since this will be the first election many of our members can vote in, our executive board is there to assist any of them with registering to vote and ensuring they have all of the necessary paperwork,” College Republicans President senior Andrew Derrenbacker said.
DeFrank emphasized the importance of students mailing in their absentee ballots.
“We’re in a unique position, because we’re in New York state, which is not a swing state. What we’re looking to do is to get as many people to vote for Hillary in wherever makes the most sense,” DeFrank said. “If you’re a committed Hillary supporter and you live in a swing state, we’d like you to vote there. If you live in another non-competitive state, you could totally vote [in New York] because we’ve got Congressional races [in this district] that are pretty competitive.”
According to Dewan, the College Democrats will also make a concerted effort to stress the importance of voting in swing states.
“We hope that people from all states, but especially states that are considered toss-ups, will remember to, as Ted Cruz says, ‘Vote your conscience,’” Dewan said.
Colgate is located within New York’s 22nd Congressional District, where a Congressional seat is open. Dewan hopes this will get more students interested in the importance of regional government, even during an election year.
“We reached out to the local Congressional campaign in the area for the Democratic [candidate]. It’s an open seat, which is really exciting, and we want students to know that, if you’re interested in working on an election or working on a campaign, this is a great opportunity to get involved because it’s an open seat. It’s a toss-up in some ways. If students want to get involved and make an impact that’s visible, they can do that,” Dewan said.
Similarly, the College Republicans are encouraging students to participate in the Congressional election.
“[College Republicans] are also working with a local Congressional campaign. Our club will [reach] out to voters in the district, run our own call center and spread the Republican Congressional candidate’s message,” Derrenbacker said.