The 2012 Presidential Campaign is in overdrive as voters get ready to head to the polls in November. USA Today ranks college students amongst the 90 million voters most likely to skip the polls this year.
A July Gallup survey supports that. It found “Fifty-eight percent of U.S. registered voters aged 18 to 29 say they will "definitely vote" this fall, well below the current national average of 78% and far below 18- to 29-year-olds' voting intentions in the fall of 2004 and 2008.”
“As young adults we have the opportunity to decide our future and our children’s future,” said Mark Ness, Rasmussen College Paralegal graduate. “It’s our civic duty to choose where we want the direction of our country, state and local governments to go, and that starts with being informed.” Ness says he’s always been interested in politics, and he hopes to hold political office one day. He’s currently on the planning commission for the city of Stacy, Minn. He’s also volunteering with Representative Bob Barrett’s campaign.
“I am one of the contributors to Rep. Barrett’s Facebook page,” said Ness. “I’ve also walked in parades campaigning on his behalf. You can also make phone calls, knock on doors or help with mailings. Candidates are always looking for volunteers.” If you’re looking for information about a specific candidate, Ness says Facebook is a good place to start. Almost every candidate has a Facebook page and Twitter account or you can go directly to their website.
“Get to know your candidates, and then support the candidates who agree with your point of view,” said Ness. “Most importantly, take what you’ve learned and vote.”
If you want to know which presidential candidate you side with, check out iSideWith.com. There you can take a quiz that asks you about different social, domestic policy, healthcare, science, foreign policy, immigration, environmental and economic issues. You don’t have to pick a yes or no answer. You can come up with your own stance on a specific issue. The website then matches your answers with one of the candidates. You may also want to check out these websites:
ProCon.org – The website is a nonprofit charity that has no government affiliation. Its purpose is to provide the pros and cons of controversial topics to educate people without bias.
FactCheck.org – FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters. It monitors the accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players.
LOWV.org –The League of Women Voters holds many hats. It educates and registers voters in order to improve elections and government. While nonpartisan, it is known for hosting candidate debate and forums. If you want to get involved in your community, the League is a great place to start. Check out its blog to see how League members and volunteers are impacting voters across the country.
Secretary of State Websites – Your state’s Secretary of State Website may be the best location to find information about your state and local candidates. There you can also register to vote, find your polling place and fill out an absentee ballot.
Like websites, there are plenty of smartphone applications to help you follow the presidential election. The following apps are free and can be found on both Android® and Apple® devices.
Ad Hawk – Identifies which groups are behind political advertisements. The app listens to political ads and immediately gives you information about the groups that are spending money to influence your vote. The app is run by the Sunlight Foundation, which uses data from the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Elections Commission, press releases and other sources.
Fluent News Reader – Combines news articles from nearly 50 sources including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and CNN. No need to go to those specific sites to get the latest political news. Just create a “search” with the keywords “election 2012”. The app will group those news articles for you.
Obama for America and Romney-Ryan – The presidential campaigns have their own apps, as well. They explain the candidates’ position on certain issues, provide ways to get involved and list nearby campaign events.
Rasmussen College is also helping its students be more civically responsible. It’s hosting several voter awareness events at its Minnesota and North Dakota campuses. The first will take place on Monday, October 1st at the Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove campus. Students can talk to the League of Women Voters, get registered and find their polling place.
“The event is not just for students who aren’t registered to vote,” said Brooke Easton, Rasmussen College General Education Committee member.” You can also learn what’s going on in your community, what you will find on your ballot and the candidates you will be asked to vote on. We really hope students will be encouraged to vote.”
Rasmussen College is also hosting a town-hall style event with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. He’ll discuss both the marriage and voter identification amendments at the Eagan campus on Tuesday, October 16th starting at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.
Here is a list of other Rasmussen College voter awareness events, which are similar to the event at the Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove campus:
Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove campus – Monday, October 1st: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and Tuesday, October 2nd: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Mankato campus – Wednesday, October 3rd: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
St. Cloud campus – Wednesday, October 10th: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Blaine campus – Monday, October 15th: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Fargo campus – Wednesday, October 24th: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
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