OC Democrats Get Students Voting
By Rachel Decker

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, hundreds of Oberlin College students traveled to First Church, the public library and Prospect Elementary School to vote. Yet the prominent Democratic voice of Oberlin College was not enough to raise Obie-endorsed officials into office.
Founder and President of the Oberlin College Democrats Matt Kaplan and his organization of over a dozen students worked tirelessly this semester, strongly encouraging college students to vote and campaigning for local as well as state Democratic candidates such as Tim Hagan, Sue Morano and Marcy Kaptur. Although the campaigns were unsuccessful, Kaplan was pleased with the efforts of the OC Democrats. “It wasn’t a great night for the party per se, but it was a great night for us,” he stated. “We worked very hard and are proud of the job we did.”
The Republican Party won all local elections as well as the majority of the House and Senate.
The most disappointing loss was that of senatorial candidate Sue Morano to Republican Thomas Armbuster by approximately 500 votes. “We probably helped Morano in the hundreds,” stated Kaplan. “Sue lost by just over one-half of one percent and pending the provisional and absentee votes there will most likely be an automatic recount. There is the possibility that she could still come out on top.”
Especially appealing in Morano to the OC Democrats were her views on labor activism. Much of what she endorsed correlates with the current labor and layoff dilemmas now facing the College. “There is definitely a lot of labor strife on campus,” Kaplan said. “Morano would have given that labor a voice in Columbus and would have provided workers with an ally in Columbus. An ally which working families need to defend their rights.”
Of College students indifferent to the election, Kaplan stated, “Anyone who says their vote doesn’t count needs take a look at the small margin of votes which decided the local races.”
OC Democrat member sophomore Becca Kenna-Schenk was also frustrated by the apathy shown by some students and the belief that their vote has no impact. “Morano is a very obvious example that that’s not true,” she said. “It’s frustrating when the outcome could have been changed by Oberlin students.”
The OC Democrats, in their effort to get the vote out, registered 275 students to vote, dropped mass amounts of literature on campus, in the town of Oberlin and throughout Lorain County and poll-watched at the various voting locations accessible by students. “Over the last two and a half months, we spent countless hours going door to door, sign waving, putting up posters, calling voters and spending all day Tuesday at the polls in the rain,” said Kaplan.
“[The election] was the end of a hard fought battle for our club,” stated Kaplan. “On Nov. 6, at least the OC Democrats could say that we stood up for the values which we believe in and fought the best fight we could. Instead of mourning the loss on election night, we will be organizing for the next election, we will be preparing a response on our nation’s swing towards the right.”

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