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Students make politics priority before election

By Nikki Scott
Staff Writer

October 25, 2012

With just days remaining before the 2012 Presidential election on Nov. 6, two campus organizations made a priority of getting UNCP students and the surrounding community motivated and involved in this year's election.

President-incumbent Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts are competing for the coveted position as leader of the United States. Inauguration day is Jan. 21, 2013, because the traditional day, Jan. 20, falls on a Sunday.

Both the College Democrats and College Republicans held meetings in October in order to generate ideas among members and to cultivate a more avid student involvement.

Expanding outreach to those in the community who may not be informed or involved in the impending election is the primary goal.

College students accounted for 18 percent of the electoral vote in 2008. Issues like finding jobs after graduation and paying back student loans have the candidates racing to secure votes until Election Day.

Some of the more pressing issues during this election season have been women's rights, healthcare, the economy and issues involving gay rights to marriage.

Student Kelsey Bigler, 22, describes herself as a more independent-oriented conservative.

"My stance on abortion is, I don't agree with itů but, who is the government to say 'you can't have an abortion to save your life'?" Bigler said.

College Democrats

The College Democrats held an open-to-students volunteer forum in Pine Hall's multi-purpose room for Organizing for America (OFA) on Oct. 9.

This meeting was advertised as open to all students, but The Pine Needle reporter who came to the meeting was asked by OFA to leave because they said the meeting was closed to the press.

In a later phone call, Christina Freundlich, North Carolina deputy press secretary for OFA, provided The Pine Needle with background information on the grassroots organization dedicated to the re-election of President Obama.

The College Democrats held a cookout in front of the UC on Oct. 18 in order to inform students about early registration.

The College Republicans held their first meeting for the fall semester on Oct. 10. This session informed the 12 attendees of the fundamentals of the organization and the importance of sticking together.

College Republicans

President Fred Byrom, 23, led the meeting and explained the purpose of the organization to "promote voter awareness at the collegiate, local and state levels."

"It's important that you look to your left and right and see your conservative buddies because we are few and far in between," Byrom said in reference to the population of conservative to liberal students and faculty on campus.

"I support the Republican party because I support their platform of beliefs," said Adam Berdeau, 19, a business and political science major.

N.C. as a swing state

This year, North Carolina will contribute 15 of the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the election.

North Carolina is considered one of the coveted swing states because there is no abundant lead between the candidates for the majority of the popular vote.

In 2008, President Obama won the state by a mere 14,000 of the more than 23 million votes cast.

"Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, these swing states are really what's going to make a difference, and little districts like Lumberton and District 14, this area, could be the make or break for the whole election," Byrom said.

"I won't vote a straight ticket every time because I do not believe in that. There's going to be some Democrats I'm going to vote for, but I fully support Mitt Romney on this," said Cory Hartsoe, 19, a criminal justice major with a minor in terrorism studies.

Early registration

UNCP students who are not already registered can register and cast an early vote at the Pembroke Public Library, 413 Blaine St. during various hours until Nov. 3.

For more information and hours of availability, contact the library by phone (910) 521-1554.

Regular voter registration ended Oct. 12. Early voting began Oct. 18 and ends Nov. 3. Election Day is Nov. 6.

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Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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