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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Campus groups court undecided voters with last-minute efforts

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    After months of Election Day speculation, endless polling data and political spin on the right and left sides of the political spectrum, guessing games will soon end and give way to tangible results.

    Until the last vote is cast, though, UA student groups will be hard at work making phone calls, courting student voters and providing the campus voting information in a last-ditch attempt to sway the undecided crowd.

    “”I’ve made 700 phone calls in the last three days,”” said James Jeffries, president of the UA Young Democrats. “”No matter what happens, we are going to go into (election night) knowing that we’ve done everything we possibly could have done.””

    Sen. Barack Obama’s current 6 point lead in some polls has done little to reassure student Democrats of an inevitable Obama win. The Young Democrats have been scouring the campus lately, hosting a table on the UA Mall and passing out information outlining policy differences between the two presidential candidates. Today will be no different, Jeffries said.

    It is much of the same story on the right side of the political divide as well.

    The UA College Republicans have also been a large presence on campus during the election season, dolling out their fair share of phone calls and holding several rallies, said Ry Ellison, president of the College Republicans.

    Student Republicans were especially busy over the past weekend, putting up signs and going door-to-door talking to voters, he said.

    The work won’t end today, as the student organization is renting out a room at the Student Union Memorial Center, where they will continue to make phone calls in an attempt to encourage Republican voters to turn out in full force.

    Following their last-minute phone call push, College Republican volunteers will head to Phoenix for what Ellison described as “”John McCain’s victory party.””

    Although the polls suggest that the jovial victory party may quickly turn into a somber concession event, Ellison is confident that there is one last comeback in the Arizona senator.

    “”I think we’re going to win – we’re going to pull it off,”” he said. “”I’m very confident of that.””

    Despite the McCain campaign looking up at Obama in the current national polls, Ellison does not see the polls as foolproof or discouraging to Republican voters, he said.

    “”All the polls showed John Kerry winning in 2004 on Election Day, so I don’t put any stock in the polls,”” Ellison said. “”The only poll that matters is the one the voters will do (on Election Day). I’m confident that Americans and Arizonans are going to elect John McCain as president.””

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona have also gotten in on the act, assembling UAVotes 2008 in an effort to bring election issues to doorsteps of UA students.

    Along with spreading information on both major candidates, ASUA has also utilized early voting, encouraging Pima County voters to cast their ballots at the ASUA offices. Between Oct. 8 and Oct. 31, 3,000 students voted early on campus, a figure that has increased by 600 voters since the 2004 election season, said Tommy Bruce, ASUA president.

    ASUA will also be offering shuttles outside of Old Main from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to escort voters to any polling places within Pima County.

    UAVotes 2008 will show live feeds of the election results at Gallagher Theater and host an election results party at Gentle Ben’s from 6 p.m. until the president-elect is announced.

    As voting results begin to filter in, the Young Democrats will flock to the Mariott Inn on Second Street and Tyndall Avenue to take part in a results party hosted by Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Jeffries said.

    Meanwhile, Republican contender Tim Bee’s campaign will host an election night event at The Manning House near Interstate-10 and Congress Street, Ellison said.

    While Obama may run away with the Electoral College, students should take careful note of popular vote totals that could put Democrats and Republicans in roles opposite those taken in the 2000 Election, when Democratic nominee Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the election to current president George W. Bush, Jeffries said.

    “”In terms of popular vote, it’s still going to be close,”” he said. “”You’re always supposed to look at it as if you’re down 5 points.””

    While Democrats work to close out the contest against McCain, the race is not over until every vote has found its way into the bottom of the ballot box, Ellison said.

    “”We’ve got to finish strong,”” he said. “”I don’t think anyone should write John McCain off. He’s a fighter.””

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