Political group promotes

Coralie Carlson

The knock at Katie Seitz’s residence hall door sparked her curiosity: The College of Liberal Arts freshman wasn’t expecting guests.
But the strangers at her door didn’t ask for money or promote a religion — they pushed politics.
Six College Democrats hit Sanford Hall last night and distributed about 180 voter registration cards. Students can register on election day by bringing the cards to their polling place on Nov. 3.
“I think they don’t know how easy it is to vote,” said Jon Bjorum, architecture junior and College Democrat. Bjorum said he didn’t know how he could vote as a freshman at the University and he thinks informing people will make a big difference.
The College Democrats registered about 300 students in the Superblock last week and they plan to tap into football fans at the next home Gopher game.
“Our goal is to get as many people registered is possible,” said Adam Tillotson, president of the College Democrats and CLA sophomore.
However, young people are the least likely age group to vote and political science professor William Flanigan warned that registration drives might not have a large effect on election day.
“A registration drive is worthwhile,” Flanigan said. “But it’s not stimulating turnout like we thought it would.”
He said students need to be informed and interested about politics in general; that will drive them to the polling booths.
“But that’s not much of a strategy to get people to vote in a couple of weeks,” he added.
Young people chronically avoid polling booths on election day, Flanigan said, partly because they tend to move often.
Registering to vote is usually inconvenient for younger and more unsettled people. Those who move frequently are not as attached to their community and feel less inclined to vote, he said.
Flanigan explained that many young citizens do not align with a political party, making them less politically active. Political organizations trying to mobilize voters often run into trouble reaching younger sectors, too.
However, more educated people tend to vote more often, which works in the favor of college campus turnout, Flanigan said.
Even though a student’s vote isn’t likely to tip an election, Flanigan said campus votes can make a difference.
“Students getting involved in politics can have an influence on politicians,” Flanigan said, because candidates give more attention to voters than to non-voters.
Seitz, returning to her e-mail after the College Democrats left her room, said she wasn’t planning on voting because she would have to return to her hometown in Wisconsin. Knowing that she can cast a ballot in her new neighborhood, Seitz said she might give it a try.