ANC Candidates Seek to Encourage Student Voters
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 02:09
Although Craig Cassey (COL ’15) and Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14) are running unopposed for seats on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, both candidates have launched efforts to increase their vote count in November’s election.
Cassey and Prindiville are aiming to improve on voter turnout from the last election cycle, when current ANC Commissioner Jake Sticka (COL ’13) was able to win his seat with nine votes in an uncontested election. According to ANC 2E Chair Ron Lewis, more than those nine people attempted to vote in Sticka’s district, SMD 2E04, but several students filled out their ballots incorrectly, using Georgetown’s main campus address as their home address rather than their individual dorm address. Still, this year’s candidates are working to encourage more students to vote in D.C.
Sticka feels that there will be better voter turnout this year due to student dissatisfaction with the outcome of the 2010 Campus Plan negotiations, despite the fact that the presidential election might compel students to vote in their home districts.
“I think there have been a lot of events in the past two years that have shown people how important it is to get involved by registering,” he said. “I think you’re still going to see a lot more people vote here, and I think in 2014 that will go up even higher because people won’t be voting at home.”
Both Cassey and Prindiville are also hopeful that recent events relating to the campus plan will increase turnout, even though their elections are uncontested.
“I’m hoping to receive as many as I can possibly get,” Cassey said. “When Jake Sticka ran, he was also uncontested, but there’s an importance in having a large student turnout. It represents a unified student body that wants to engage in local politics and hold their elected officials accountable.”
Cassey added that a strong voter turnout will send a clear message to the representative of SMD 03, a district split almost evenly between students and local residents. The district is likely to elect a non-student in this election, but a high vote count for Cassey and Prindiville would show the SMD 03 representative that he could be defeated in the next election if he fails to represent student interests during his term.
Lewis, however, questioned the significance of increasing the number of students registered to vote in D.C.
“I don’t think it matters,” he said. “In an uncontested race, you don’t expect a high vote count, no matter who is registered where.”
The issue of where students should register to vote this year has prompted controversy. While some say that students should vote at home, where their votes may count for more, Prindiville and Cassey feel that students should use their vote to influence local elections.
“I hope students will register in the District,” Prindiville said. “Students in the District have remarkable power in a local election. My hope is to encourage students to exercise this power and exercise their vote.”
In the months leading up to the election, both Cassey and Prindiville are focused on educating students and helping them register. Their efforts include one-on-one conversations and social media campaigns.
Prindiville has devoted a section of his campaign to student outreach and education.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of door-to-door knocking, tabling in Red Square and reaching out to specific students, helping them through the registration and voting process … [and] encouraging them to vote in their local election,” he said. “I think students … need to add their voice to the conversation.”
Prindiville added that TurboVote, a service that allows constituents to register to vote online, should increase student participation this year.