At the start of Constitution Week on Monday, Sept 10, Oswego State hosted “Rock the Vote” in the Campus Center auditorium. The discussion was held to discuss various aspects of voting and the election, from the finances to where and how students can get involved and vote. Political science professor Bruce Altschuler led the discussion by speaking about campaign financing as an expert on U.S. presidential campaigns. This event was the kickoff to a week of discussion, student involvement in the voting process and information sessions on the candidates and their effect on students’ lives.
The main goal of the speeches and events during Constitution Week was to make students aware of what is going on during this crucial presidential election and to get students to vote. The reason this event took place so far before the election is because the cut off date for voting registration is Oct. 12.
When speaking to Dr. Altschuler in regards to the events during Constitution week he explained that one of the more pressing points when speaking about the election to students would be in regards to campaign financing. Altschuler said that information on the candidates is extremely important because the advertisements and funding will sway students’ voting. The amount of money each candidate has and how they raise the funding were also fundamental to Altschuler’s speech for students.
Altschuler explains that this election is special due to the record setting in money spent and raised this year. The candidates will be breaking new records with their use of political party contributors, who are spending large sums of money to enable the candidates to place ads and make more persuasive commercials to sway voters.
The event was also about keeping students updated on the election and give them as much information on each candidate as possible to assure that students are making the best personal choice for their vote.
“Rock the Vote seems like a great idea to get students involved in this election. There’s a lot I still don’t know about the candidates and I love hearing more about how elections work.” Oswego State junior Anthony Prisco said, explained in regards to his opinion on the events to come.
In the mission statement of Rock the Vote, in terms of mobilization of youth voters their website describes their initiative as follows: “From traditional campaign tactics – phone calls, canvassing and grassroots outreach – to new tactics – organizing social networks, online advertising, email outreach, and mobile – we’ve got tip on which techniques work to register, engage, and turn out young voters.”
“By the most current news in the election, in terms of the leaked tapes in which Romney made a controversial statement in regards to 47 percent of voters, these types of statements and the knowledge of such is something which young voters could use information on,” said Oswego State junion Katrina Pevsner. She goes on to explain that, “the more you know the more secure you will feel in your use of your vote to make it count.”
As the election draws closer, time is ticking to get more students aware of the day to day issues the candidates will tackle and what new promises and policies the candidates will be implementing. In the last presidential election in 2008 56.8 percent of Americans voted, which was a 5 percent increase from the 2004 presidential election. The “Rock The Vote” initiative, through use of social media and other devices which pertain to today’s youth, are clearly hoping to increase that number in college students.