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>  News Releases >   2008 >   November

Making history

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 11/04/08 • Media Contact: Sarah Gomez • (603) 646-3661 

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Dartmouth undergraduates turned out in unprecedented numbers to take part in Tuesday's history making Presidential election. What were they thinking as they voted, most for the very first time?




A busy Election Day at Dartmouth, as students watched the results roll in at a watch party at the Rockefeller Center (top). After Obama's victory speech, more than 300 students gathered on the lawn of President James Wright's home, where they talked with Wright (middle), then marched to the Dartmouth Green for an impromptu rally. (Photos by Kawakahi Amina '09)

Dartmouth students turned out in record numbers to vote on Election Day.

According to Jessica Guthrie '10, president of Vote Clamantis, a non-partisan student group that tracked voter turnout, more than 2,200 Dartmouth students showed up at the polls to vote. Youth turnout was high, thanks in part to coordinated outreach efforts from student organizations including Dartmouth College Republicans, Dartmouth College Democrats, Vote Clamantis, and the Student Assembly. Each organization focused on registering voters, educating students about the candidates and policies, and arranging transportation to the polls. Guthrie noted that student drivers who volunteered with Vote Clamantis drove 441 students to the local polls at Hanover High School.

The heightened campus efforts included many students new to the electoral process.

First-time voter Sarah Bourne '12 from Lancaster, PA, said, "I found it really exciting to participate in this historic election that is important for our generation and our nation."

Jamila Ma '12 of Queens, NY, agreed: "Voting for the first time was a great experience because I felt like I finally got to be a part of a political system I've been learning about since elementary school. As I get older, the issues that our president confronts and the decisions made become more and more relevant to the choices I am able to make in the future and the society that I will inherit, so voting was an exciting moment for me."

Jamie Chapman '12 of Traverse City, MI, filed an absentee ballot in his home state. Chapman noted "It's incredible to help choose the political agenda, especially in such a historic election. This election will undoubtedly redirect our country and redefine the world's image of America, regardless of who wins. So much of this election has been targeted towards our generation, and the chance to essentially determine our future is such a profound opportunity."

In addition to campus-wide efforts, Student Assembly President Molly Bode '09 issued a voting challenge to Wilson Tong, Student Body President at the University of Pennsylvania, in an effort to get registered students to vote. "The voter turnout competition we issued to Penn was a friendly way to emphasize school spirit and reach out to student voters," Bode said "The school with the higher percentage of registered students who vote on Election Day will win." She added, "College students are very educated and should be voting in higher numbers, especially with the enormous challenges our next president faces." Bode is working with Vote Clamantis and the College Democrats to calculate campus turnout and the winner is expected to be announced by Friday, with initial numbers released Tuesday night. The winning school will give the students an agreed upon prize, potentially a "Rock the Vote" party, while the losing school's student president will wear opposing college apparel for a week.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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