Voters prepare for upcoming election

by Victoria Bedford / Beacon Staff • February 23, 2012

Emerson’s Republican and Democratic organizations may hold different political opinions, but not on the importance of voter registration. 

Co-sponsored by Emerson Republicans, Communication Politics and Law Association, and Emerson Pre-Law Society, an official event to encourage students to register to vote will be held on this Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room.

Paul Almeida, president of Emerson Republicans, said the event is an effort to make the voter registration process easier. 

“We advertised it primarily to Emerson students, but we won’t deny anyone who wants to vote,” said the freshman political communication and marketing communication double major. “It’s for anyone and everyone.”

According to Almeida, the event will have three tables: one for Massachusetts residents to register, one for out-of-state voters who wish to register in the Bay State, and one for students who wish to vote in their hometown through mailed-in absentee ballots. 

Emerson Republicans tabled outside the dining hall Feb. 13 as a promotion for its event and to register students who wanted to vote in the Mass. primary March 6. 

“It was as effective as tabling usually is,” said Almeida. “People walk by and ignore you, but we had 10-15 registrations in a two-hour span.” 

The Emerson Republicans contacted Ellen Rooney, Republican commissioner for the Boston Elections Department, who helped them learn how to put together a voter registration drive. 

“We’re on the same page when it comes to the idea that it is our duty as citizens to vote,” Almeida said. “[Rooney] has been very helpful in explaining how to get this together.”

Emerson Democrats are not participating in Saturday’s event, but said they fully support the mission to raise political awareness and increase the number of voters on campus. 

While the Emerson Democrats don’t have any voting registration events planned for the future, they did hold a voter registration drive two weeks ago in conjunction with Mass. senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. 

Emerson Democrats President Samm Leska, a senior writing, literature, and publishing major, said that tabling outside the dining hall for this registration resulted in 35 registrations in a little under two hours.

Leska said the Emerson Democrats registered a total of 75 voters this year so far, and 35 in-state voters in the last registration two weeks ago, which is significantly less than the 200 registered last year.

The Emerson Republicans and the Emerson Democrats have a bipartisan event planned in April with a panel of economists and elected officials, but for now they are operating individually.

Leska said she is glad to see the Emerson Republicans rallying students to register.

“I think it’s really awesome that they’re doing that,” said Leska. “There are always a lot of people on campus...who don’t realize how easy it is to register to vote.”