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ND democrats try to rally supporters

Amanda Michaels | Monday, October 30, 2006

With less than two weeks until Election Day, the Notre Dame College Democrats (NDCD) staged a “Campus Invasion” this weekend, bringing together Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Ball State University students to canvass the St. Joseph County area for the Joe Donnelly for Congress campaign.The event united approximately 25 students – three of which came from Ball State in Muncie, Ind. – and while organizers had initially expected participants from other schools in the region, like Indiana University South Bend and Indiana State, they were still satisfied with the turnout.”Even though we expected more schools to come, it ended up being a very successful event with very good turnout,” said Caitlin Conway, member of the NDCD and intern for the Donnelly campaign. “We covered a lot of precincts, and the students from Ball State really helped out.”Canvassers were spread throughout St. Joseph County on Saturday and Sunday, with groups of five per neighborhood. Each individual approached 40 or more houses, according to Conway. Conway explained that the focus of the canvassing was primarily to encourage Donnelly supporters to vote, rather than informing them of the 2nd District candidate’s platform.”Over the last two years, we’ve been trying to get the word out about [Donnelly’s] platform,” she said. “But at this point, so close to the election, we figure a lot of people have made up their mind already. Now, we’re just trying to get them to the polls.”The canvassers also made it a point to mention South Bend’s early voting system, which, opening last week, allows those who might not make it to the polls on Nov. 7 to cast their vote at a more convenient time. “[The early voting system] is important for us to mention, because some people might not realize it’s available,” Conway said. “I know I talked to a lot of Donnelly supporters who didn’t know about the early voting, but thought it sounded really convenient and said they would look into it.”To kick-off the event, participants went to Donnelly’s campaign headquarters, where the candidate gave them words of thanks and encouragement.”[Donnelly] told us how important this election was for this country, for getting some change in Indiana and for getting a change in the House [of Representatives] for the democrats,” Conway said. “And he thanked everyone for all their hard work too.”Over the next nine days leading up to the national election, Conway said the College Democrats will not have any more events like “Campus Invasion” planned, but many club members will be working the phones for Donnelly’s campaign.The NDCD is also planning to stick to home base, rather than reciprocate the journey to the Ball State area.”In the past, when the elections in this region haven’t been so close, we’ve traveled to other campuses to help out,” Conway said. “But this year, this campaign is one of the ones that needs help the most.”