Political Groups Prepare For March 4 Primary Election

This story was written by Catherine Couretas, The Miami Student
Student political groups at Miami University are gearing up for the Ohio primaries by knocking on doors, putting up yard signs and calling voters throughout Oxford and the surrounding cities.

In the final push before Ohio's primary election, students from both groups are making efforts to get out the vote among as many supporters as possible.

"Right now we're working directly with the campaign," Jen House, communications director of Students for Barack Obama at Miami, said. "We're knocking on every door in Oxford and driving people to the polls. We're just working on getting the nomination right now."

Senior Phillip Hurst, who is in charge of Miami's operations for Students for Hillary Clinton, said that starting early Monday morning, students fanned out across campus to spread the word about why they think Hillary is the best candidate for the Democratic nomination, while others phone banked all day to ensure that Hillary supporters know polling locations.

Hurst said that supporters of Hillary Clinton would be working on a Get Out the Vote Effort all day Tuesday.

"Students for Hillary have a very busy 48 hours before the polls close on Tuesday in Oxford and on Miami's campus," Hurst said.

Hurst said that Tuesday, beginning when the polls open at 6:30 a.m., volunteers will be meeting to campaign until the polls close in the evening at 7:30 p.m.

On the other side of the political spectrum, College Republicans, headed by Chris Berry, serves as the primary outlet for supporters of conservative candidates, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.

The organization itself is unable to support a presidential candidate during the primary season due to Republican Party rules.

However, due to a lack of student groups in support of individual candidates, any get out the vote drives are most likely conducted by the College Republicans.

"You have to do the door-to-door and put up yard signs," Berry said. "We've knocked on hundreds of doors and I think our efforts have been very instrumental."College Republicans put a lot of time into volunteer work, and, in Berry's opinion, the efforts have paid off.

"We are the largest college Republican group in the state and the largest supplier of volunteers in southwest Ohio," Berry said. "We're the group that political organizations look to for campaign volunteers."

Berry said that some members of College Republicans are active in regional activities for individual presidential candidates.

"We have a couple people that are delegates for Huckabee," Berry said. "They've gone to rally for Huckabee, hear him speak and meet him."

Berry added that College Republicans keep students just as well informed on Huckabee and Paul as McCain, since there aren't any groups on campus for those particular candidates.

Unlike Students for Barack Obama bringing Kal Penn and Nick Cannon to campus, Berry said the group won't be bringing anyone to speak on campus this semester, though Berry did say that College Republicans would be trying to bring in candidates as the November elections get closer, including candidates running for state representative and state senate.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get people of higher positions to speak at a college or university, according to Berry.

"The higher candidates get the tougher it gets to get them to campus," Berry said.

However, despite the efforts student groups may be taking, word has yet to reach every student.

"The university should help students in terms of voting and voter registration more," said first-year Kristen Brand. "They should help out with absentee ballots more, especially with people from other states. Wedon't hear about what we can do."

First-year Michelle Booher agreed.

"I don't hear about any groups having speakers or meetings," she said.
© 2008 The Miami Student via U-WIRE