â€œIf young voters had decided the election, John Kerry would have been elected in a landslide with 375 electoral votes,â€ claims the Web site for the College Democrats, referring to the 2004 presidential election.
But Morgan Lucas, the vice president of the Southern California branch of the College Democrats, said that most college students arenâ€™t registered and donâ€™t vote.
â€œMany donâ€™t realize they can vote on their college campus,â€ Lucas said.
Because of this, College Democrats in California State University and University of California campuses across the state, including Fresno State, are holding Voter Registration Day on Nov. 7. Students can register for any political party they choose â€“ even Republican â€“ although the group will be encouraging people to register as Democrats.
Adam Horn, president of Fresno Stateâ€™s College Democrats, said that all students should get more involved in politics because â€œwhat they put into it is how much theyâ€™re going to get out of it.â€
The date, Nov. 7, was chosen because it was exactly one year away from Election Day 2008, Lucas said. She added that they wanted to send the message that â€œweâ€™re getting geared up for the election even a year away.â€
While the College Democrats have no plans to endorse a particular candidate at this time, members of the group passed out tickets to Hillary Clintonâ€™s campaign event at Fresno High School on Monday.
Upcoming events for the Democrats include fundraisers and the possibility of having local Democrats speak on campus.
College Republicans, in contrast, wonâ€™t be holding a registration drive anytime soon, due largely to the fact that the club, for all practical purposes, doesnâ€™t exist this semester.
Frequently represented in the past on the Fresno State campus, the College Republicans appear to be in hibernation.
Campus College Republican adviser Walter Loscutoff said he didnâ€™t have contact with any of the members, and that he doesnâ€™t know what to do.
â€œI have no way to contact anyone, nor have I heard from any of the members,â€ Loscutoff said. â€œI do not know if they are even still around.â€
He said the group had not submitted the proper forms to the Student Activities office to be recognized as a campus club.
While the College Republicans are in limbo for now, the College Democrats appear to be in full swing leading up to the presidential primaries, and are looking to increase their numbers.
Horn is working to get his group noticed on campus.
â€œThis campus has a good potential for Democrats, but it is masked because of the area being conservative,â€ Horn said. â€œI am hopeful that we can build our membership and create a more active club on campus.â€
The Democratic Party has often placed a heavy emphasis on targeting youth voters. Former President Bill Clinton appeared on MTV in the run-up to the 1992 election, and John Kerry did the same in 2004.
The reason is that most 18 to 25-year-olds are liberal, and therefore more likely to vote Democrat, Lucas said. She added that not engaging college students would be â€œhurting our future.â€
Horn agreed, saying college students are â€œreally the future for Democrats.â€
College Democrats and Republicans
College Democrats and Republicans by the numbers.
â€¢ Current national memberships: 50,000 (Democrats) and 250,000 (Republicans).
â€¢ Membership on campus:
â€¢ How to get involved: Contact Adam Horn, president of the College Democrats, at
(408) 460-3422; or Walter Loscutoff, College Republicans adviser, at (559) 278-5593.
Article by Megan Bakker and Scott Neyman