With less than two months left before a historic presidential election, the Obama campaign is stepping up efforts to attract student support.
During a meeting at the Florida A&M University’s Senate chambers Wednesday, Rattlers for Obama, a student group, heard about the need for more students to register to vote and to go to the polls on Nov. 4.
Young people can make a big difference in what happens in the presidential contest between Senators Barak Obama and John McCain whether they realize it or not, said Monique Gillum, a 2008 FAMU graduate who is a college field organizer for the Obama campaign.
“We’ve got to become participants in the game of change and not just bystanders, sitting back and watching it happen,” said Gillum, 22, who urged students at the meeting to become active in registering their peers to vote.
But that involves more than just filling out an application.
Out of 1,500 voter registration forms completed on campus, about 100 were filled out incorrectly, Gillum said. So those applicantsmust be tracked down to correct their registrationapplication before the rapidly approaching deadline. Obama campaign volunteers are being urged to register five voters a day until the Oct. 6 deadline.
“I have no doubt that we can register between 4,000 and 5,000 students in 27 days,” Gillum said, alluding to the voter registration deadline.
Voting gives students a chance to do more than just talk, said Brandon J. Smith, 19, a sophomore from Palm Beach. “Students complain more than adults, so voting would make a change instead of complaining and not having anything done,” said Smith, a pharmacy student. Because the election will be close, Smith and Gillum are trying to reach out to those who think their vote doesn’t count.
“There is power in numbers,” Gillum said.
FAMU students seem to appreciate what’s at stake. Ashley Finney, 22, a senior business administration student from Tampa, said Obama represents progress for the better.”There is so much going on in the world and it needs tobe changed,” she said. “Barack Obama can’t save the world, but he cantake a big step forward.”
Belysa Walker, 20, a senior business administration student from Gainesville, said she understands the importance for her peers to show up at the polls to select who will run the country.”When I picture anyone but Obama, I get scared just because of how the last eight years have gone,” she said. Young people stand in lines to attend clubs and concerts. They should make the same effort to stand in line to vote for what makes a difference in their lives, Gillum said.
“Think of how great it feels to stand in line to electObama as our next president,” she said, “think of wakingup on Nov. 5 and Barack is not the president.”
To get involved with the Obama campaign or for voter registration forms, contact Monique Gillum at Mgillum@Floridaforchange.com or team leaders Lark Mitchell 863-838-1810 or DeAnthony Friar 310-706-5667. For more voter registration information visit the Leon County Supervisor of Elections website, www.leoncountyfl.gov/elect/