To the editor:
The News’ View, “Be Sure Your Voice is Heard, Here or at Home,” (11/4) suggested that some of the political apathy on campus was due to “the aggressive way in which we’re asked to register to vote.” The Yale College Democrats’ voter registration efforts were described as “more like an assault than an invitation to participate in the democratic process.” As one of the registrars of voters for the College Democrats, I dispute that characterization.
This year, the Yale College Democrats only organized one door-to-door drive, and we intentionally focused our efforts on Old Campus dormitories and the freshmen rooms in Timothy Dwight and Silliman. We recognize that most upperclassmen, if willing, have already switched their registration to Connecticut. Our other voter registration drives this year were limited efforts at the Freshmen Bazaar and at a handful of the dining halls across campus. While I appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts, I would encourage people not to confuse our efforts with those of the aldermanic candidates. I would hardly say that our efforts constitute harassment.
Our primary motivation in encouraging people to switch their registration was the existence of a competitive aldermanic race in Ward 1, where students had the ability to make a dramatic impact on New Haven politics. However, we agree with the News’ View that students who keep track of politics at home and in New Haven know best where their vote is needed. Therefore, we also explained how they could switch their registration back.
Now, our main voter registration project is the creation of a database of students who live in battleground states for the presidential election in order to remind them of the absentee ballot deadlines.
The College Democrats work hard to make sure students are well-versed in local politics before they go to vote. We expect Yale students, the best and brightest in the nation, to make an informed vote. Likewise, we expect the YDN to take the time to gather all the facts before it decides to attack a legitimate and effective voter registration campaign.
Maren Ludwig ’05
The writer is co-registrar of voters for the Yale College Democrats.
November 4, 2003