The election is over, but New Voters Project not finished

by Ann Beacom

The New Voters Project is no longer in operation after the election, but organizers hope young people will stay involved in politics.

“The New Voters Project is no longer,” said Ken Collins, Simpson College’s campus organizer. “But we are working to institutionalize it so that groups like the New Voters Project don’t have to go so above and beyond to get kids registered to vote.”

The project, headed by the Public Interest Research Group, registered more than 500 Simpson students this year. According to Collins, one way of institutionalizing the project would be for Simpson to register students on campus right after checking in their first day.

Collins also stressed that many of the project’s members can begin their own chapters. These chapters could participate in many of the same promotions carried out by New Voters Project such as Get Out the Vote campaigning and door knocking.

“It’s not just you that needs to vote,” Collins said. “It’s important to get others involved as well.”

Large numbers of students did get involved. Voters ages 18-29 overwhelmingly favored Sen. John Kerry, by 54 percent to 45 percent nationally, according to Edison Media Research.

After President George W. Bush’s win in the election, some political analysts fear that young voters will feel discouraged and avoid getting involved again.

“Right after the election many students looked very dejected,” said Scott Cody, instructor of political science at Simpson. “As days go by they don’t seem bothered anymore.”

Collins said he hopes that young voters won’t take the result of the election as a defeat, but rather develop stronger political views and do what they can to get others to vote in the next election.

“I believe that the New Voters Project was the beginning of something great,” Collins said. “I hope that young people stay involved and continue the work we’ve just begun.”