Student plans for voting vary

Some students said they were uninterested in or unaware of today’s elections.

Nina Petersen-Perlman

Mayoral and city council candidates made some last-ditch efforts Monday to try to get University students to vote.

Their message, however, seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Several students Monday said they didn’t know anything about the candidates, and some said they didn’t even know there was an election today.

Out of dozens of students interviewed, only a handful said they planned on voting.

Several students listed lack of time, inconvenience and apathy as the reasons they will not vote today.

“I don’t follow elections, and I never have,” said Justine Dieringer, a first-year dental hygiene student.

Fifth-year communications studies student Liz Spillman said she has to work all day and won’t be able to make it back to campus in time to vote.

“If it was right here and someone handed me a thing to vote, I’d do it,” she said. “But I’m not going to go out of my way.”

Some students, like chemical engineering senior Matt Weber, said they just haven’t had the time to learn about the candidates or issues.

“I’ve been busy, and that’s my only excuse,” he said.

Specialized major sophomore Renée Wegener said she still had to learn more about candidates but she was definitely going to vote.

“I was planning to research them the night before I voted,” she said.

First-year biomedical student Rebecca VanDenMeerendonk said her English teacher convinced her to vote and told her about the candidates.

“We’re living here now,” she said. “Why not get involved?”

Representatives from the College Greens and University DFL didn’t need to ask themselves that question and said they had worked with their endorsed candidates to go door-to-door in the University’s residence halls.

Assistant Director of Residential Life Susan Stubblefield said candidates needed to register with the residence hall 24 hours in advance to gain entrance.

“We let students know it’s their right to put a sign on their door asking candidates not to campaign, and (the candidates have) definitely followed that,” she said.

Jesse Lickel, co-chairman of the College Greens and a psychology senior, said that although people were more receptive than he thought they would be, many were not aware there was an election going on.

“Generally, we try to talk about student issues, and if they’re more interested, we’ll tell them to look at our Web page,” he said.

Lickel said the College Greens have mainly been campaigning for Cam Gordon, City Council candidate for Ward 2.

Max Page, president of the University DFL and an individualized studies junior, said they have been helping Ward 2 candidate Cara Letofsky but not Ward 3 candidate Diane Hofstede because “she has not reached out to us.”

“I think the students on campus overwhelmingly identify as Democrats, and when they find out that a Democrat is running, they have been very supportive of that candidate,” he said.

College Republicans president and marketing senior Jason Baskin said they’ve worked a little with St. Paul mayoral candidate Randy Kelly after a campaign representative contacted them, but otherwise they haven’t been called upon to help with elections.

“Most of our focus has been laying the groundwork for the 2006 campaign,” he said.