Elizabeth Warren supporters hold voter registration drives on campus
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 11:02
Tufts Students for Elizabeth Warren, an unofficial student group organized to help elect Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, will today run voter registration drives as part of a statewide College Day of Action sponsored by the Warren campaign in an effort to register students to vote for her next fall.
There will be voter registration tables in the Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael Dining Halls today during heavily trafficked lunch and dinner periods.
The event is being held in conjunction with drives at many other colleges in Massachusetts to build support for Warren among students, according to Benjamin Badejo, the head of the Tufts Students for Elizabeth Warren group. At other campuses, supporters will go door-to-door at on-campus student residences to garner support and register new voters.
Students who register today will be able to participate in the presidential primary this March as well as be eligible to vote in the September Senate primary and in November's general election, according to Badejo, a senior.
Badejo said that because many students change their addresses after the housing lottery, the group is considering holding another voter registration drive either toward the end of the semester or immediately after the housing lottery in March. He believes that this decision would enable students to register with addresses that are valid for the September Senate primary and November's general election.
Badejo started the Tufts group last fall when interest in Warren's campaign heightened at an early October fundraiser in Boston.
"I thought it would be a great idea to start building support on campus by organizing people to get involved with the campaign," he said.
Since its inception, the group has participated in phone banking at the Warren campaign headquarters in Somerville and on local campuses, according to Badejo. The group also goes door to door to raise support, a tactic that they have used so far at approximately 300 residences in the Medford and Somerville areas, he said.
Samuel Kelly, who has been involved with the Warren campaign both on campus and as a volunteer in the campaign office, spoke about the need for voter registration drives at colleges across the country.
"One of the biggest issues for college Democrat groups is getting college students registered because so many college students just aren't registered to vote," Kelly, a freshman, said.
He explained that although college students are generally more likely to support Democratic candidates than Republican candidates, they tend to be less likely than other demographic groups to act on their political beliefs.
"Those are just hundreds of thousands of votes across the country that we just lose, so it's really important [for] students in groups like us and groups like the Tufts Democrats to register tons of voters," he said.
Badejo said that the Tufts Students for Elizabeth Warren group consists of about 60 students, most of whom are undergraduates.
"Recently we've started to get more [Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy] students on that list, so there's some overlap between different schools that make up the university," he said.
Megan Rounseville was the first Fletcher student involved with the Tufts Students for Elizabeth Warren campaign. She signed up for the group two months ago and has since fostered greater support among Fletcher students.
"I sent out a bunch of emails and have found more people who've been interested who since have been involved, but prior to me getting involved I know that there weren't any other Fletcher students that had been on the email list," she explained.
"I think there will be more involvement as we get closer to the election," she added.
Kelly characterized this particular campaign as crucial and potentially decisive on a national level.
"This campaign is important because it's very likely that control of the Senate will rely on the results from Massachusetts," he said.
Rounseville said the importance of this election should be a motivating factor in getting involved.
"I think this is an opportunity to act," she said.