Campus organizations active in election
College Republicans and Young Democrats have increased their ranks significantly since the 2016 presidential election. Both groups made thousands of calls to encourage people to vote for the midterm elections.
Chairman of CR, Logan Blackwell, said CR has 105 members now, whereas in April, they only had 17.
Trent Nicholas, president of YD, also reports growth.
“Last year, we started growing the group, and I think the rate has been increasing pretty well for the last two years,” Trent said.
CR and YD contributed to campaigns by volunteering with their respective Baldwin County parties. Both groups helped out at events and conducted hundreds of hours of phone banking.
Phone banking is a type of canvassing, which is defined as making initial, direct contact with individuals. It’s essentially door knocking by phone. The purpose is to encourage people to vote.
On CR’s relationship with the Baldwin County GOP, Blackwell said, “[CR] needs to be the workforce—volunteering, door-knocking and that kind of stuff. But then they help us out financially periodically and help us get speakers on campus through their connections.”
Nicholas said YD worked with the Baldwin County Democratic Party to bank calls and said he believes their efforts caught the attention of the Democratic National Committee in Washington. Their total calls were combined, but Nicholas could not confirm the exact number.
Blackwell said CR set aside Monday and Tuesday nights for phone banking. Their goal was 5,000 calls per week, and according to Blackwell, they met their goal each week.
Both organizations used apps to simplify their tasks. HubDialer, for example, is a web-based application designed for phone banking that expedites the process by connecting to a user’s phone and continuously auto-dialing numbers in a database, until the user ends the session. Organizations upload a list of target contacts, and HubDialer does the rest of the work for them.
Both Nicholas and Blackwell listed three key issues affecting college students.
Blackwell said CR’s concerns are concealed carrying on campus, healthcare and education. Nicholas said YD’s top three are healthcare, environmental issues and education.
“GC does a really good job of taking care of its students with its healthcare and its doctors and everything else, but it’s really important to me that all students are insured,” Nicholas. “That all people are insured, that everyone has access to healthcare.”
CR has a concern about healthcare because GC has a large number of students in the nursing program, Blackwell explained, and the difficulty keeping rural hospitals open could lead to students only having opportunities to work in Atlanta.
On education, Nicholas said he wants a future where college is affordable and hopes that “we can find a solution to make going to college a more economic option, and then not leave people with such debt and look at possibly of making college a cheaper or more free experience like we see in Europe and other places.”
CR has three concerns about education: underpaid K-12 teachers, eliminating Common Core and the distribution of the HOPE scholarship.
Now that election season is over, YD and CR will continue to attend campus events, host their own events and hold meetings.
Anyone interested in CR can contact Blackwell at email@example.com. CR will continue to meet every three weeks in Atkinson 107.
Anyone interested in YD should contact Nicholas at firstname.lastname@example.org, and consider attending a bimonthly meeting in A&S 243.