The Colorado Public Interest Research Group nearly succeeded in its goal to register 1,500 Auraria students for the 2012 election.
Through class announcements, postcard pledges, phone calls and talking face-to-face with students on campus, CoPIRG was able to raise awareness, involvement and register 1,155 students to vote, according to Lindsay Jakows, CoPIRG campus organizer.
Jakows wants politicians to recognize students as a more credible and concerned audience. She said that a larger student-voter turnout will show politicians that students are active in politics and are genuinely concerned about issues within the community.
“No matter how you feel about the candidates running for office or propositions on the ballot, your voice matters and you can make a difference,” Jakows said.
After the voter registration deadline passed Oct. 9, CoPIRG continued to raise awareness about the importance of voting by hosting events and presidential debate watch parties and asking people to pledge to vote.
CoPIRG asked students to write down their pledge to vote on a postcard.
Starting Oct. 31, CoPIRG will mail the postcards back to the 491 students who signed pledges.
Registering to vote is only the first step. Voting comes next.
“I know a lot of people who don’t want to vote because they think it isn’t important,” said Sophie Juhl, MSU Denver sophomore. “Even if you don’t think it is important, it still affects you, this is the first presidential election I can vote in. A lot of my friends don’t know a lot about the election and it is important for organizations like CoPIRG to raise awareness and get people involved.”
The employees and volunteers of CoPIRG have an interest in getting the student population more involved in voting. They want students to become aware of their voice and they hope to gain more attention from politicians for the students.
“We believe it is important for people and especially students to vote,” said Veronica Zepeda, vice president of the new voters’ project for CoPIRG. “We, as students, want to be heard. If we let politicians know we are here and voting, they are going to pay more attention to us, Voting is free and it takes less than five minutes. Just do it.”
CoPIRG wants students to know how easy it is to vote and why something as simple as filling in bubbles means so much.
“I’m from Libya where people die fighting for democracy,” said Mouath Beaesho, UCD graduate student. “Americans take voting for granted. It is important to empower the ordinary people’s voice.”