Penn State and Ohio State battled for bragging rights this week, but it wasn’t on the football field.
This time, Penn State claimed victory in a contest between each school’s students for Barack Obama chapter to register the most students to vote. Penn State students registered 300 more voters than Ohio State, said Taylor Garland, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama.
Penn State Students for Barack Obama registered 1,541 voters, and Ohio State registered 1,248 voters during the competition, Garland (senior-political science) said.
She said her organization has been in the lead all week. The group has been knocking on apartment doors and registering voters inside and out of the HUB-Robeson Center and classroom buildings, she said.
The competition began last Friday and ended last night. She said the competition was a way to rally volunteers and make a big push to get students registered to vote before Pennsylvania’s Oct. 9 deadline.
“We just wanted to end it with a bang and some excitement,” Garland said. “We’re both battleground states, so it’s fun.”
Laura Brown, a senior undergraduate studies advisor in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and a member of the PSU Votes initiative, said the competition fuels the students who are working so hard to register students to vote, but it shouldn’t take so much effort to get people registered, she said.
Brown said part of the problem is that it’s not as easy to register in Pennsylvania as it is in other states. Still, students should be rushing to register, Brown said.
“This is something that students should be highly motivated to do without any encouragement,” Brown said. “Students should be grabbing for those forms, not being chased down.”
They can find forms in all commons areas and at the HUB Information Desk and drop their completed forms in the boxes there, Brown said.
Vytas Aukstuolis, a neighborhood team leader for Ohio State’s Students for Barack Obama, said many students at the school were already registered. A change of climate on campus helped students recognize the importance of the swing state, he said.
Aukstuolis, a sophomore studying public affairs, said he really cares about the number of students who turn out to vote.
“Personally, I want to see that statistic at the election after the polls saying that Ohio State has the highest percentage of students who voted,” he said.
Penn State Political Science Association President Michael Mahon said the policies elected leaders choose will have some effect, either good or bad, on jobs. Most students will be going out in the full-time work force within the next few years and will likely feel the effects in full force as they’re graduating, Mahon (junior-political science and economics) said.
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