As Election Day nears, political RSOs work to get out the vote

With Election Day less than eight weeks away, two registered student organizations on campus are revving up grassroots efforts to increase student involvement in the electoral process.

The Illini Democrats and the Illini Republicans are taking measures to increase student voter registration and to swing those newly registered voters toward partisan candidates.

“Most of our (Illini Democrats’) efforts right now are directed at getting students registered,” said Shana Harrison, chairman of the Illini Democrats and senior in LAS.

Harrison said each Wednesday and Thursday for the next five weeks, the Illini Democrats will be visiting a different student dining hall and hosting drives to register students.

The push to register more students is a bipartisan effort on campus, with the Illini Republicans actively seeking to do so as well. Despina Batson, president of Illini Republicans and senior in LAS, said getting more students to vote is a priority. She also stressed the efforts that her group is making to guide registered voters to Republican candidates.

“We’ve been hitting it hard since Quad Day,” Batson said. “The reality is that the economy is not strong. Everything hinges on the job market. Nothing else matters without a strong economy.”

For that reason, the Illini Republicans are campaigning on behalf of candidates they think offer solutions to America’s economic situation, including Mitt Romney for president and Rodney Davis for Congress.

Harrison said the economy is a crucial issue for students to pay attention to this election season.

“With the state of the economy, we have to make sure that we get people into office who will make the right decisions,” she said.

The Illini Democrats have also been trying to swing voters across the political spectrum to the candidates they endorse, such as incumbent Barack Obama for president and David Gill for Congress.

For some students on campus, voting is already on their minds. Amanda Moore, first-time voter and senior in LAS, plans to vote for Barack Obama.

“Voting is very important because it is an inalienable right that needs to be exercised,” she said.

Moore also said America’s biggest economic problem is “a lack of opportunities for people who come from all different walks of life.”

_Matt can be reached at [email protected]_