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ISSUE 118 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/15/2004

Battleground states energized

By Bethany Jacobson
Staff Writer


Friday, October 15, 2004

Living in a swing state, Minnesota voters may experience an increase in political activism this year. Organizations from both parties are making a strong push for their candidate and both candidates continue to make monthly visits to the state.

In the 2000 presidential election, Minnesota's 10 electoral votes went to Al Gore with 47.9 percent of the vote, while George W. Bush received 45.5 percent of the vote, part of the reason Minnesota is seen as a swing state in this election.

On campus, the College Democrats have noticed an increased push for promotion from their national headquarters. According to William Herr '07, the College Democrats liaison with the Kerry campaign, student enthusiasm for the election and the desire to support their candidate have not been affected by Minnesota's swing state status.

"What has changed is the amount of support that we have received from the Democratic Party through the College Democrats of Minnesota and also the Kerry campaign," Herr said. "They have sent representatives and materials to help us in our campaign."

The College Republicans, on the other hand, say their level of support from the state office has been consistent with support in other election years.

"Things do get blown out of proportion but I think that every election is important no matter what," Katie Rusch '05, vice-chair of the College Republicans, said. "They all influence and impact us." She added, however, that in their meetings they have emphasized Minnesota as a swing state.

Swing state status can affect where students choose to vote. Students can choose to register to vote in Minnesota or to vote by absentee ballot in their home state, a decision that can be influenced by many factors.

"In my home state my vote would be much less likely to count," said Sara Horner '06, explaining why she plans to vote in Minnesota.

Other students choose to vote absentee for a similar reason. Jessica Miller '06 plans to vote by absentee ballot because she said that "Michigan is also a swing state and has more electoral votes than Minnesota."

The focus of both campus political groups is to encourage voting in general, not specifically in Minnesota.

"Our primary goal is just to get students to vote, regardless of the state," Ross Lachaw '07, co-chair of the College Democrats, said.

Herr encouraged students to seriously contemplate their decision of where to vote.

Because of Minnesota's swing state status, it would be wise to consider how powerful a vote here would be versus a vote at home," Herr said.

In close elections, such as the upcoming presidential election, swing states become vital to the success of presidential campaigns, and political groups converge to encourage activism and voter involvement. Minnesota has been a swing state in three of the last six elections, with a less than five percent difference in vote totals for the two major candidates.

All of Minnesota's electoral votes will go to one candidate, regardless of how narrow the split is between the two.





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