Students debate, become informed during ‘Smart Voter Series’

by Jillian BishopStaff Writer

The Smart Voter’s Series is a first to Simpson College and is intended to help inform students about the upcoming election.

The series will include discussion on political issues and inform students about why they should go to the polls and vote Nov. 4.

Created by Kedron Bardwell, assistant professor of political science, the Smart Voter’s Series includes four events, starting with an economic presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Bardwell said students should know about the key issues before they decide to vote.

“Why not put together a series that would specifically try to get people better informed about issues before they then go and vote?” Bardwell said.

The first part of the series will feature Bardwell and Jim Palmieri, associate professor of economics.

“It’s not meant to be a debate,” Palmieri said. “It’s more something that is meant to inform people about the different viewpoints.”

The event will explain different issues and viewpoints of the presidential candidates and how students can express their viewpoints on political issues.

“I hope students get to learn more about the economic issues surrounding economic differences and similarities between the two candidates,” Palmieri said.

On Oct. 20, the second part of the series will on a political survey, conducted by Bardwell’s 2008 May term class, which studied faculty and students’ views on political issues. The third programentitled, “Getting Smart Online: An Interactive Workshop.” takes place Oct. 27. It will include information about specific Online nonpartisan tools that students can use to become more informed.

The Series concludes the night before the election, when the College Democrats and College Republicans go head to head in a debate.

The debate will feature leaders of Simpson’s political groups.

The events were set up to help students learn about different issues relating to the presidential candidates.It is also to encourage students and individuals at Simpson College to have their own opinions on certain issues.

According to Bardwell, last year’s College Democrat and Republican debate was a success, with a crowd of almost 200 people. This factored in deciding to have the Smart Voter’s Series.

“I think there’s an audience out there for this, of people who are craving informative topics and presentations of information that can help them decide or become more sure of who they’re going to vote for,” Bardwell said. “It’s about getting our people involved and making sure they are also informed.”

Students around campus are talking about the event, even if they are undecided of they who they want to vote for this year.

“I’m intrigued by the topics that will be discussed at the events,” freshman Ethan Logsdon said.

Bardwell looks forward to the opportunity of providing an environment where students can become better informed about today’s politics.

“The forum series is a perfect venue for political information and discussion,” Bardwell said. “I think any student who is interested or wants to get more informed about politics can learn a lot from many of these events.”