Congressman comes to campus, encourages students to vote


The time to decide is drawing near and the College Democrats at the University of Memphis are encouraging students to exercise their right to choose who will impact their lives for the next four years.

With Congressman Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., the group will host the 2012 Get Out the Vote Rally on Thursday in Johnson Hall, room 110 in partnership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Progressive Student Alliance.

The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

The rally is not to endorse Cohen, but to encourage students to vote, said Tyler Flowers, junior political science major and president of the College Democrats at the U of M.

"The main thing we want to stress for this event is not necessarily democratic causes, but stressing the right to vote," Flowers said. "We want everyone to get out and vote."

Early voting ends Thursday. Polls will reopen Tuesday, Nov. 6, which is Election Day.

Representatives from the student organizations sponsoring the event will each speak on topics ranging from fair pay and women's rights to taxation and gay marriage.

Nick Mastron, senior political science major and director of public relations for the College Democrats, said the rally is also about demonstrating the role of government in students' lives.

He said the rally is an opportunity for students to show an active interest in government.

Anthony Lucatelli, sophomore sociology major and chairman of the Progressive Student Alliance, said his organization will speak about what students can do outside of the electoral process to make a difference in the community.

"Look for active student organizations that are doing work in the community," he said. "I would say that we have a lot of power to do things here at home and it's much easier to get involved here than on a national scale. I think we should address our own city for now."

More than 46 million people from 18 to 49 years old are eligible to vote for the 2012 election and 62 percent of college attendees voted in the 2008 election compared to the 36 percent of non-college youth who voted, according to the Young Democrats of America.

Ryun Jackson, senior political science major and executive board member of the Kappa Beta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at the U of M, will speak on behalf of his fraternity about the need for students to not only vote, but make an educational decision about which candidate they choose.

During a voter registration initiative in the second week of school, Kappa Alpha Psi helped more than 50 students register to vote.

There is also an initiative by the national organization in partnership with the national chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called the "This is My Vote" campaign encouraging voter registration and education, Jackson said.

"We want to be clear that we're not endorsing any candidate, but we are participating in this positive endeavor to get the college students on this campus and colleges abroad about this election," he said. "It is their civic duty to vote and participate in the election process and make a sound decision. Don't vote just to vote. No one likes a voter who is not informed about the policies and platforms of candidates."

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