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U. Houston Group Drives Early Voters To The Polls

This story was written by Matthew Keever, The Daily Cougar

Students for Barack Obama atthe University of Houstonmembers ferried students to a nearby early-voting location on Monday in an effort to promote civic participation.

"We're focusing on increasing voter turnout," said Syed Zaman, a member of Students for Barack Obama who coordinated the event. "Sure, we'll tell people about Obama if they ask, and we're wearing our Obama apparel, but we're not trying to sway their decision."

Zaman said he even helped register a few Republicans.

"Unfortunately, (overall) turnout hasn't been what we hoped," he said

Two-hour wait lines at the Palm Center, 5300 Griggs Road, deterred many students from voting. Only about 25 students took advantage of early voting on Monday, but the group plans to organize the carpool again to aid student turnout at the polls.

"A lot of people planned to go and vote between classes, but not many people have that much time," Zaman said.

Near their table, a sign for Obama stood next to one for U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston.

"(Noriega) endorsed Obama way back when," Zaman said.

Along with siding with him on many political issues, Zaman said this was reason enough to endorse Obama.

"I'm an independent," Zaman said, "I vote the issues. And this time around, I'm voting Democratic."

Sarah Kerawala, a biology junior and member of Students for Barack Obama, attended the rally and said she was delighted with the experience.

"It's been a lot of fun as well as an interesting experience. Having the opportunity to talk to people about the issues and meet with the Young Democrats every week has been a blessing."

Students for Barack Obama at UH members also attended an assembly on Sunday at Discovery Green, a park in Downtown, to encourage people to vote early. The group had a launch party for the last presidential debate, promoting students to gather to watch the candidates discuss the issues.

"Every vote counts," Kerawala said. "And we aren't stopping after this."

Communication junior Mark Hensley did not have the time to vote early, but said that after speaking with Zaman he would make it a priority.

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