Election Time Spurs Action on Campus

With the United States’ presidential election quickly approaching, politics is a prominent topic of debate around campus. And because Swarthmore College found a way around Pennsylvania’s voter identification registration law, the election is increasingly personal to Swarthmore students.

The law, implemented this year, requires that any registered Pennsylvania voter own a government-issued photo ID with a valid expiration date. After much outcry that this law discriminates against students, the elderly and lower-income citizens, Swarthmore found a way to allow its students to still vote.

“The Swarthmore College student ID card is legal voter ID for voting in Swarthmore, PA, because the College ID has your name, photo, an (unexpired) expiration date, and proves your Swarthmore affiliation,” Registrar Martin Warner wrote in an email addressed to the entire student body.

Warner is not the only person on campus who is trying to get the word out about voting, though. Several student groups, including Swarthmore College Democrats and STAND, also plan to be particularly politically active in relation to the upcoming presidential election.

Swarthmore College Democrats, for example, will be tabling in Sharples Dining Hall later this month to increase voter registration on campus.

“I’m hoping we get the word out enough that [students] realize that [the Swarthmore ID] is fine,” Swarthmore College Democrats President Allegra Pocinki ’14 said.

Additionally, the Swarthmore College Democrats are working on three campaigns for this election — the Barack Obama presidential campaign, the George Badey seventh congressional district campaign, and the Larry DeMarco state house campaign for the 164th district.  In fact, Badey spoke at Swarthmore on September 4.

“We are organizing groups of students who want to work for specific campaigns to take them to the campaign offices,” Pocinki said. “We’re also doing a lot for the voter ID law, helping people [in Chester] fill out forms, getting them educated on what’s different this year.”

STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition, is also trying to spread political awareness on campus. While predominantly focusing on the budget cut on foreign aid, which prevents genocide, STAND President Danny Hirschel-Burns ’14 also plans to hold a viewing party for the debates and hold discussions the following day to discuss what each candidate proposes in relation to genocide.

Regardless of the primary focus, student groups on campus encourage students to be politically aware and vote in the upcoming election.

“I feel like everybody should be [politically aware,] because that’s what the system is based on,” Pocinki said. “I feel like people who complain about day-to-day events and don’t participate should really be helping out [in any way possible.]”

Allegra Pocinki is a layout editor for The Phoenix. She had no role in the production of this article.

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