College Democrats plan registration drive

Kelly Cernetich, Editor-in-Chief

National attention may be focused on upcoming Republican presidential primaries and caucuses, but Pitt-Johnstown’s College Democrats said they are hard at work, hoping to spark students’ interest in local politics.

A “Get Out The Vote” voter registration drive was to have begun Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Student Union.

The drive is to run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday.  Students who register are to receive candy as a thank-you.

College Democrats President Mark Stephens said the voter-registration drive is just one of many events he wants the organization to hold to generate interest and maintain a noticeable profile on campus for the upcoming election season.

“We just want to get people registered for the election year,” he said.

The College Democrats historically have had a hard time keeping members and other students interested in the group once spring primary elections are held. This year’s primary is to take place April 24.

“Right after the election, (the club) became extinct last time,” Stephens said. “I want to keep it going.”

Part of that effort will be holding fundraisers throughout the semester.

So far, the College Democrats are to host a volleyball fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and a bowling fundraiser for the Humane Society.  Stephens said he wants to partner with the College Republicans for the Humane Society fundraiser.

“I think that would be fun,” he said.

But the club’s main focus, following the registration drive, is to help get Democrats re-elected.

“We will campaign with the party,” Stephens said, adding that the group plans to work closely with state Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria County) and U.S. Rep. Mark Critz (D-Johnstown), two Democrats whose constituents include Pitt-Johnstown students.

Critz’s Campaign Manager Tony Coppola said he will happily work with the College Democrats come election time, especially with making phone calls and door-knocking, to reach out to voters.

“We love working with college students,” he said. “They bring a lot of energy to the campaign.”

Students interested in working with the College Democrats can attend a recruitment party at 6 p.m., Jan. 24, in Room 208 Krebs.