Non-partisan group works to involve students in politics
In an effort to engage students in politics, the New Voters Project aims to register thousands of CU students around campus to vote in the upcoming November elections.
The project is a non-partisan voter registration drive that works to register college students across the county. It began in 2003 and now says it’s the largest youth-mobilization project in the country. Its goal is to register 4,000 eligible students at CU by Oct. 3.
Kristin Grabarek, the campus organizer for the Colorado Public Interest Research Group at CU, which hosts the New Voters Project, said that a cycle of mutual neglect exists in which college students do not vote and, as a result, politicians ignore students’ voices.
“Our main goal is to make politicians pay attention to student voters,” Grabarek said.
The group will organize its volunteers and set up stands Sept. 27 and 28 on the Norlin quad in a last effort to register students. On Oct. 3, the group hopes to host a debate between gubernatorial candidates Bill Ritter, an attorney, and Sen. Bob Beauprez, Grabarek said.
Bara Mann, a sophomore chemical engineering major, volunteered to help the New Voters Project because she feels that Boulder is “not represented by our current governor.” She believes students need and want to vote.
“I would love to (tell students) vote for this or vote for that, but I won’t do that until registration is over,” Mann said.
Any student may volunteer for the project after a brief training session to inform them on how to register students, according to Grabarek.
Kate O’Flaherti, a sophomore environmental studies and studio art major, volunteered with the group because she thinks “citizens who are able to vote should take advantage of the opportunity.” She said students in Boulder could make an impact in Colorado if they voted.
Junior integrative physiology major Lindsey Monett is one of the many students the project has registered. Monett said she is impressed with the project and registered to vote because her friend is active in the group.
“They were very professional,” she said.
Some students, like Logan Newbill, a fifth-year senior history major, do not plan to register at all.
“I don’t know as much about the issues here,” Newbill said. “I’m from Virginia.”
Jessica Bedoll, a senior political science major, is from Boulder and has voted in every election since she was eighteen. She believes it is important for students to vote and to keep the government in check. However, she thinks students need to make an effort to understand the ballot issues first.
“If you’re not going to make the effort, you should not be involved (in voting),” Bedoll said.
After Oct. 3, the New Voters Project will launch an education drive during which they will educate students about all issues and candidates on the upcoming November election, Grabarek said.
Students may register to vote in Colorado if they have lived here for at least thirty days and have a valid driver’s license or social security number.