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Students campaign in Michigan, South Bend

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Although voter registration deadlines have passed, politically-active students are working hard before the election to get out the vote, both in South Bend and in swing states with local borders. Approximately 40 members of the College Democrats from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross traveled Sunday to campaign for Senator John Kerry in Battle Creek, Mich., a key area in a swing state with 17 electoral votes. “The Battle Creek rally was a big success,” said Sarah Staley, president of Saint Mary’s College Democrats. “We went door-to-door for about three hours, offering people literature and asking if they might need help in getting to the polls on Election Day … Face-to-face contact really drives home the importance of the election, and hopefully, our work on Sunday will influence a few more people to get out to vote on Nov. 2.” Colin Taylor, Notre Dame College Democrats co-president, stressed the importance of person-to-person campaigning, citing a Harvard study that showed door-to-door canvassing to be the most effective means of persuading registered voters to vote.Taylor mentioned two other trips the College Democrats plan to take before the election next Tuesday. “We’re taking a final campaign road trip to Toledo, a group of about 30 of us, to do general last-minute canvassing and phone-banking.” Notre Dame College Democrats will also volunteer in Benton Harbor, Mich on Election Day to get out the vote for Kerry.In addition, the College Democrats will hold a rally with other progressive student groups at 5:15 p.m. today on Fieldhouse Mall.College Republicans have been actively campaigning for President Bush as well as for local Republican candidates, including a door-to-door “precinct walk” for 2nd District Congressman Chris Chocola in South Bend Sunday. Chocola faces a tight race with Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly. “We passed out campaign literature and it had information about why Congressman Chris Chocola would be good for the 2nd District,” said Ian Ronderos, College Republicans co-president. “It had a very good response.” In addition to local precincts, the Republicans will also target more traditional Democratic neighborhoods to help improve support for Chocola. “This week we’re doing a bus tour with Congressman Chris Chocola down to traditionally democratic Kokomo, to do 72-hour campaigning,” said Tom Rippinger, College Republicans co-president. College Republicans will also canvass in the Republican stronghold of Granger this weekend to make sure that registered voters turnout. Members plan to work at the campaign headquarters of Chocola and gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels on Election Day, Rippinger said. Rock the Vote will also keep active through Nov. 2, according to student coordinator Peter Quaranto. “Now that registration deadlines have passed, the goals of Rock the Vote have shifted to getting out the vote and providing events to promote informed citizenship,” said Quaranto. To help ensure that registered students vote, Rock the Vote is sponsoring a campus-wide competition that will award the dorm with the largest percentage of voting residents a $250 gift certificate to Best Buy. The organization will also be sponsoring an Election Watch in the Coleman-Morse lounge from 6 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 2.