While President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are dueling over foreign policy and the economy, CCNY organizations are leading voter registration movements, both on and off campus.
Michelle Emokpae, USG vice president of university affairs, in collaboration with the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG), began a voter registration initiative in September. The efforts are part of a larger CUNY Votes drive, which aims to register college students to participate in the political process.
“We are giving students the option to have a voice. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” says Emokpae. “And we just don’t want students voting in presidential elections; we need students to vote in local elections, because those are the ones that directly affect them.”
On National Voter Registration Day on September 25, CCNY`s Roosevelt Institute, a nonprofit group that encourages politcal involvement, registered 500 people in Queens. NYPIRG signed up 5000 people across the five boroughs on Tuesday.
Angela Choi, vice president of the Roosevelt Institute, says, “I participated in National Voter Registration Day because voting is a right and a privilege. I don’t want anyone to miss their opportunity to register to vote. The best part was seeing so many young energetic people fired up to register.”
In light of Governor Romney`s remarks that he is not concerned about the 47 percent of Americans who depend on the government and President Obama`s inability to fix the economy, CCNY students are split between the two candidates.
CCNY junior, Mohammed Alam, has decided he’ll vote for Obama. “The nation has to make a choice between two extremely different men,” he says. “Personally, I believe that President Obama will win a second term because he is more capable, reasonable, and exemplifies the characteristics you look for in a leader.”
Beau Lancaster, a senior, is less sure. “I’m an independent but I would support a Republican as long as they hold fourth to certain principles I believe in.
Currently, Obama leads Romney 48 to 44 percent.. With the polls so close, Emokpae says, “It is important that everyone registers because everyone has a say in what our country will look like for the next four years.”
The Voter Registration Initiative at CCNY ends on Thursday October 11th, when USG plans to host a poetry event, “Speak Out.” The event, which will be from 6 PM to 11 PM in the NAC Ballroom, is the final opportunity to register to vote. For more information about this event, visit the Undergraduate Student Government office, located in NAC 1/111.