The College Republicans and College Democrats campaigned for candidates throughout the Eastern United States while an informal poll of AU students revealed troubling voter apathy.
The CRs, in conjunction with the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, sponsored a trip to Lexington, Ky., last weekend where they campaigned for State Representative Ernie Fletcher’s bid for governor, said Mike Inganamort, AUCR vice president.
The group of 15 had a huge presence in the city and knocked on more than 500 doors, Inganamort said.
“We were actually campaigning in the hometown of his [Fletcher’s] opponent,” he said. “The AUCRs were basically put in charge of it.”
Inganamort said this trip was more dangerous than others because the group was harassed by union workers who actually threatened violence against them.
On Tuesday, a group of 25 people drove to Philadelphia where they campaigned for mayoral candidate Sam Katz.
They met up with “a couple hundred” other College Republicans from around the country, waved signs in front of City Hall and participated in some media interviews, according to Inganamort.
The AUCRs also worked for Chris Braunlich’s Virginia State Senate bid in Fairfax County, knocking on doors and conducting literature drops, Inganamort said.
While Katz and Braunlich lost their elections, Inganamort said his volunteers made a difference.
“The AUCRs are nationally recognized,” he said. “When we left they were still raving about our work.”
The College Democrats encouraged their members to campaign in Philadelphia for mayoral candidate John Street, the eventual winner, according to President Noah Black.
In addition, over 30 College Democrats campaigned for Patty Morrissey’s bid to the Virginia House of Delegates, Black said.
They conducted “get out the vote” efforts, phone banks and literature drops, he said.
Black said his organization held a general meeting Tuesday night to discuss how Democrats had fared in their elections. They also discussed how to get more people involved in next year’s presidential election by promoting voter registration, he said.
“We held some voter registration drives last year,” Black said. “And we did get some people registered after the meeting.”
The National Democratic Party wants its College Democrat cells to work on this, according to Black.
An informal survey revealed plenty of need for Black’s initiative. A random survey of 25 AU students discovered that while 68 percent of respondents were registered voters, only 4 percent voted in their local elections.
“I think people don’t vote because they don’t see how it affects their lives,” sophomore Caitlin Zook said. “People don’t think their vote matters or could make a difference.”
Most of those who didn’t vote said it was too difficult to apply for an absentee ballot or weren’t aware of the elections.