The Haverford College Democrats plan to campaign for politicians at the local, state, and federal levels of government, but this year the group is focusing especially on one mission: reelecting President Obama.
The co-presidents of the group, Nora Howe ’14 and Lee Anderson ’15, know what they need to do to help Obama win Pennsylvania this November. “What we’ve been planning, for the most part, is two major phases for the fall before the election,” said Howe. “What we’re doing right now is we’re registering people to vote on campus because there aren’t as many means for accessing these students besides from other students. “
The second phase will begin after October 9, the last day voters can register. “When we’ve done all the voter registration on campus we can we’re going to start a get out the vote initiative which targets both campus [and] some of the local area,” Howe said.
Anderson felt that, especially in this election, Pennsylvania college students have a real chance to make an impact. “The key to Obama winning in Pennsylvania is going to be college turnout in the Philadelphia area,” commented Anderson. That makes students in the area essential to Obama’s reelection hopes. “[Pennsylvania is] a must win for Obama,” Anderson added. “There is no path to the presidency without Pennsylvania.”
Another major goal of the club is increasing interest on campus. “Despite the fact that Haverford is a very intellectual community, turnout is not always great and there’s a lot of people who I’ve talked to that registered here years ago and never voted.”
Howe agreed. “It’s hard for anyone to remember and be engaged in what’s going on in the larger political world unless you have someone to remind you,” she said. “It’s no fault of anyone’s to be really immersed in the community and working really hard, but it’s good for people to be reminded that being part of the Haverford community also means being part of the local area as well.”
For this reason, many of the activities the Haverford College Democrats have planned are meant to increase interest in the election. One such event is a debate between their group and the Haverford College Republicans, tentatively scheduled for the last week in October. While Anderson acknowledged that most of the Haverford community is “quietly liberal” he also noted, “There are different viewpoints here and it will be interesting to see the turnout on their side and see what kind of team [the Haverford College Republicans] put together.”
One factor that has spiked interest in voting here at Haverford was Pennsylvania’s new voter identification law. Pennsylvania’s GOP-led legislature passed the law, and Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed it, back in March.
“At least on campus, people have been more fired up about voting now that they’ve seen people being disenfranchised,” said Howe.