Student groups register voters at the 5Cs ahead of midterm elections

Luke Meares PO ’21 and Daisy Chadruc PZ ’21 help register students to vote during Pitzer’s “Snackie Snack” Oct. 16. (Elinor Aspegren • The Student Life)

In preparation for the midterm elections coming this November, several student groups across all the Claremont Colleges have been actively helping students register to vote and attain their absentee ballots this past month.

Groups such as 5C Democrats, College Community Action Network, Laspa Center for Leadership, 5C Planned Parenthood, and All-In Campus Democracy Challenge have all been involved in promoting voter registration.

Both 5C Democrats and CCAN have targeted events such as weekly snack throughout the 5Cs and have offered to do voter registration through tabling. 5C Democrats President Sam Horowitz PZ ’20 said the group “made contact with over 500 students” from tabling at dining halls.

“Republicans have been in control of all branches of government and they have not served the interests of what I think a lot of students want,” Horowitz said. “So, we’re just trying to help students amplify their voice by being able to vote and make some changes in America.”

“It’s not as much about getting people to vote in 2018, it’s about getting people to identify as voters for the rest of their lives.”

Lucas Carmel PO ’22
CCAN, a left-wing student coalition at the 5Cs, has been holding a series of events offering snacks and postage for students who complete absentee ballot request forms. As of Oct. 17, CCAN sent out 91 request forms. CCAN will continue to hold events until Oct. 24.

Noah Massillon PO ’21, a leader of CCAN, said his motivation for getting more people to vote was “[seeing] certain things that we as progressives, we as college students, we as young people, hold dear to us being threatened sparked me to put pressure on get people to vote, getting people to voice their ideas, and not to just stand idle when things start to change.”

Pomona politics department liaison Lucas Carmel PO ’19 organizes the Pomona branch of a nationwide non-partisan voter registration initiative known as the All-In Campus Democracy Challenge.

The aim of the initiative is to get as many students on campus to vote in electoral processes. The branch has 30 volunteers across all four years, including two alums, who primarily reach out to students through canvassing and political campaigning where individuals are directly approached and spoken to.

Though tabling is frequently used, Carmel said it is “not good enough at following through with people in actually helping with registration and turnout.”

Their outreach plan is divided into three phases that began Sept. 25, which is National Voter Registration Day. On Oct. 10, volunteers confirmed the ballot requests of students they assisted. The last phase will be a final confirmation of the status of students’ ballots.

Altogether, the initiative has contacted approximately 900 people at Pomona. As of Oct. 8, 530 students have used the TurboVote platform, a non-partisan voting service, and 259 students were registered through it, as opposed to other means of voting, such as mail.

“The number I’m really proud of is 530 because that far outpaces any number we’ve hit before in other election years,” Carmel said.

Amongst all institutions of higher education partnered with TurboVote, Pomona ranks the third highest in the percentage of undergraduates registered to vote between September and October at 25.53 percent, according to Carmel.

The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement conducted by Tufts University found that 17 percent of Pomona students voted in the 2014 midterm election. Carmel’s goal for this midterm cycle is to bring that figure to 30 percent.

“It’s not as much about getting people to vote in 2018,” Carmel said. “It’s about getting people to identify as voters for the rest of their lives.”

Corrections: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Lucas Carmel’s year as PO ’22 and said he thought canvassing wasn’t enough with following through to ensure students vote. The article has been updated to reflect Carmel’s year as PO ’19 and the word canvassing has been changed to tabling. TSL regrets these errors.
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