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Vote Clamantis Gets Students to the Polls

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Jessica Guthrie '10 doesn't care who her classmates vote for. She just wants them to vote. Guthrie is the president of Vote Clamantis, a seven-member, student-run nonpartisan voter registration and turnout drive. The organization's aim is simple and monumental: to register every eligible Dartmouth student to vote. Last year, Vote Clamantis registered more than 700 students. The current goal is to register all eligible first-year students.
Guthrie
Voter registration leader Jessica Guthrie '10 in the Rockefeller Center's Class of 1930 Room. The brass plaques commemorate Dartmouth alumni who have served the United States as elected officials. (Photo by Tilman Dette '10)

Vote Clamantis is not Guthrie's only outlet for political expression; in June, she served as a volunteer for the Rockefeller Center conference, "Going to Extremes: The Fate of the Political Center in American Politics," in which scholars presented their research on the impact of political polarization on democratic governance and representation.

Guthrie says the experience motivated her to get students to the polls. "College students are not polarized, but we're bombarded with materials from both parties. College students care about the issues, but sometimes being bombarded makes them apathetic."

Students need assurance that voting in New Hampshire won't affect financial aid residency requirements. "I'm often asked, ‘Will this affect my Dartmouth financial aid?' The answer is no. All you have to do to vote in New Hampshire is prove you're domiciled in the state. You can also always vote absentee in your home state."

In addition to voter registration drives Oct. 8 and 15 (cosponsored by the College Democrats and College Republicans), Vote Clamantis will hold an absentee-ballot drive for students participating in off-campus programs. On election day the group will operate 10 vans to take students to polling centers. Says Guthrie, "This election is really close and college students have the power to influence the outcome."

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

 

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Last Updated: 10/7/08