This November’s Election Day may not be as eagerly anticipated as it was two years ago, but CU’s campus is still a prime campaigning spot for this fall’s candidates.
The senate race between incumbent Michael Bennet (D) and Ken Buck (R) and the governor’s race between John Hickenlooper (D) and Dan Maes (R) both have a significant impact on higher education.
Both the Republican and Democratic candidates will get lots of exposure on campus this fall.
New Era Colorado, a Boulder nonprofit organization helping to increase voter mobility among young people, plans to send volunteers to campus “at least three times a week” according to its executive director, Steve Fenberg.
“We’re pretty much registering voters every day; we’re on campus of CU Boulder like three or four times a week,” CU-Boulder graduate Fenberg said.
New Era Colorado has a “high visibility day” scheduled for next Wednesday to register voters and increase voter education about the candidates, they said.
“We’ll probably have like 30 to 40 volunteers on campus all day long in the dorms, the dining halls, in sororities, on the Hill, stuff like that…We’re partnering with the Fox [Theatre] for it,” he said.
Fenberg said the organization is also working on bringing some bands and national artists to campus to help recruit young voters.
He said the company goes to great lengths to be a part of student life.
“We do a lot of stuff on Facebook…a little bit on Twitter,” he said. “We do a lot of concert events, we do festivals…we do a lot of bar crawls to register voters. [The bar crawls] are actually really effective; our whole philosophy is to sort of meet people where they’re at.”
New Era Colorado also has a panel of local experts discussing ballot measures planned for next Wednesday, and a trick-or-vote event planned for Halloween, they said.
The Boulder County Democratic Party has been working alongside New Era Colorado to register voters, although NEC is officially non-partisan.
Susan Boucher, the office manager for the Boulder County Democratic Party headquarters, said the party is attempting to send campaign information to all registered voters in the county, but they may not be able to reach freshmen.
“We need students who will be able to drop them in the dorms because we can’t do that,” Boucher said.
Boucher said any student volunteers who can access the dorms will be given a free dinner in exchange for their work.
BCDP also said they will be holding a fundraiser at the UMC on Oct. 3.
“It is going to be one of our main fundraisers,” Boucher said. “John Hickenlooper, who’s running for governor, he’s going to be our keynote speaker.”
The College Republicans of CU are also trying to register voters before the Oct. 4 deadline.
College Republicans President Gregory Carlson, a senior mathematics, political science and economics triple major, said this fall the group is trying to reach out to those disenchanted with the current Democratic administration.
“We’re also trying to give students more exposure to the other Republican candidates; we invited Ken Buck to campus and he came last week,” Carlson said. “About 120 students came to that event.”
Carlson said this year the College Republicans have seen a dramatic increase in members.
“We’re a lot more active during election years,” he said. “We’ve got about four hundred members [on the e-mail list]…We’ve had about over 100 people at all of our events so far.”
Carlson said the College Republicans want to bring some other Republican candidates to campus and potentially have a debate between the College Republicans and the College Democrats on election issues.
“This election cycle I’ve never seen a group of students more excited, it’s really amazing I think it’s because they’re disenfranchised with the direction of the country and record unemployment,” Carlson said. “We’ve had a lot of independents coming to our events just to meet some of the candidates. We try to rally the conservative base and we try to invite independent and moderate democrats.”
Students can register to vote or check your voter registration status at the Colorado state government election website.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Julie Ryan at Ryanja@colorado.edu.
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