Get Out the Vote!

Every four years the US wraps itself up in its best reds, whites, and blues and puts on one of the world’s biggest political shows – the US Presidential Election. Being in the States during election season offers an exciting and unique perspective on democracy and society in the US, and, even though you can’t vote, we hope you’ll take advantage of the unique chance to get educated and get involved. UGRAD students past and present have played an active part in local, state, and national elections…consider the following examples, and leave a comment about your own experience with the process.

Some join political campaigns as volunteers and interns.

“ I participated in campaign parades, went canvassing with other activists, and attended the election night event at campaign headquarters where we waited for results…. something I spotted and remember is how political opponents respected each other. Maybe they did not agree on important issues, but they developed a civilized relationship and dialog which is basic element of every democratic society.”
Milan Tavcar – 2010 – volunteered for a candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive

“As a volunteer I got to do a lot of phone calls which was an exciting experience because a lot of people hung up on me (which doesn’t happen often) but I also talked to a lot of very kind people. It was all a part of this amazing experience and I’m really glad I got to do it.”
Marija Raspopovic -2010 volunteered on a campaign for US Congress

Many attend rallies and debates between candidates running for office at all levels.

“It was engaging to watch the candidates debating about the economy and foreign policy issues…It wasn’t boring for me at all…It was a great opportunity to learn more about the political issues in the US. Most important of all, it was indeed my honor to be able to witness the next president of the United States!! It could really be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Khai Sheng Tang – 2008 – attended a 2008 presidential debate at his university


Others, who aren’t interested in the politics of the election, volunteer to help register eligible voters (like these 2008 UGRAD students at California State University, Dominguez Hills who participated in the “I Vote” registration project). While some campaign in support of specific issues about which they’re passionate.

In many communities you can even observe the voting on Election Day – just talk to the advisors at your university, or contact the local elections board. Of course, if you’re traveling in the US during the winter break, you might want to visit DC to witness the presidential inauguration!

Here are some links to help you stay informed and have fun:

Learn how US Elections work!

Find out about the candidates’ foreign policy positions.

Stay on top of the latest news. 2012

Crunch the numbers and explore the polls!

Have fun with the satirical/comedic view of all the action 😀

– Tom Bruey

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