A student wearing a mask and a Haverford sweatshirt hands another student voter-registration paperwork at an event on Founders Green.

Political Clubs Unite to Get Out the Vote

Haverford’s political clubs have been working together this semester to increase student voter participation in the 2020 election.

With the 2020 election on November 3 quickly approaching, Haverford’s political community, most notably its clubs, has been working tirelessly to increase voter registration and participation, while also encouraging people to become more involved in the nation’s political proceedings. 

Haverford Votes has been spearheading these efforts since 2018. “Our mission is threefold: voter registration, nonpartisan education, and mobilization. We’re acting on all three of these aspects of our mission by conducting voter registration drives, assisting students in need of help, and working with students who want to request mail-in ballots,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Zach Oberfield, faculty advisor of the program. “On Election Day, we’re going to be putting up signs—making sure that students are aware of where to go—and reminding students via electronic sources that they should vote if they are able. Remember that on Election Day, you can vote on the on-campus polling place located at the Facilities Building.”

Despite not being able to host their typical voter registration drive on Move-In Day, Haverford Votes and other political clubs have remained vigilant in engaging the community and encouraging activism.

“We’ve been working with Haverford College Democrats, Haverford College Republicans, and Students for Biden, to host events for the presidential and vice presidential debates, and we are planning to host student and faculty commentators on Election Night,” said Trevor Stern ‘22, a leader of the Student Political Network. “In the days following the election, we will be hosting discussion groups to analyze what happened politically, and why.”

“One of the most important things we can do right now is to encourage and empower each voter to recruit three friends to vote with them, because that immediately multiplies our impact,” said Saede Eifrig ‘21, a student leader of Haverford Students for Biden. “We’ve also focused our efforts at making important voting information and resources accessible to students, especially first-years, on social media and by handing out voter registration forms and vote-by-mail ballot requests, which has been in collaboration with several other groups on campus. The collaboration between political and non-partisan groups on campus has been really encouraging to see, as well as very effective in successfully covering a lot of different projects in order to provide students—and other local voters—the resources to make their votes count!”

“We’ve also rushed student voter registrations to the county office in Media to avoid the delay in mail delivery,” said Isabel Clements ‘21, another student leader of Haverford Students for Biden. “In the next two weeks, we hope to encourage students to deposit their mail-in ballots in the local ballot dropbox or to vote early, before October 27, at the county office.” 

Isabel Clements’ dog, Rosie, also worked to get out the vote on campus. Photo by Ruiming Li ’21

The collaborations have gone beyond clubs that are organized around politics to include those that advocate for specific policies, such as climate justice group Sunrise.

“We have worked with the Haverford College Republicans, J Street U, Sunrise, and Haverford Votes to hold two voter registration drives with food trucks giving out ice cream and waffles,” said Talia Goerge-Karron ‘22, a leader of Haverford College Democrats.

Haverford College Republicans, in addition to co-sponsoring campus events with other political clubs, have also been working to promote engagement through open Zoom meetings with politicians as well as by hosting weekly virtual meetings to discuss political and current events.

“One of the clearest messages that Haverford Votes has been trying to send out,” said Oberfield, “is that since PA is a battleground state—perhaps the tipping point in the election—students who come from less competitive states should consider voting in PA, no matter their politics.”

Any Haverford student that is registered to vote (voter registration can be checked online) can vote either in-person at the on-campus polling place in the Facilities Building on Election Day or by dropping their mail-in ballot off at the dropbox in Haverford Township (1014 Darby Road, Havertown). For more information: hav.to/vote.