Lewis & Clark is known for being a politically liberal campus. Surprisingly, there has not been an active College Democrat organization for four years. This year, a College Democrat club has emerged and brought with it an array of ways for students to get politically involved. On Oct. 22, the club held a pop-up phone bank in order to help get out the vote and answer local Democrats’ questions regarding the upcoming election.
While the club has not yet achieved their desired attendance levels, with a turnout of six students at the phone bank, they were still able to accomplish their goals. 100 different numbers were called and a majority of those calls were deemed successful.
“The goal of all phone banks is to contact supporters or potential supports and just see how they are feeling about the candidate and answer any questions they may have,” Emma Kaftan-Luckerman ’19, the College Democrat co-president, said. “Now since the registration period is over, we are also focusing in on making sure that people are filling out their ballots and sending them in.”
Upon its creation, the club immediately connected with the Democratic Party of Oregon in order to coordinate their efforts. The party provided the club with a list of phone numbers of registered Democrats with a history of voting in past elections. With the registration period being over, the club is now focusing purely on reaching those who have already registered and encouraging them to vote.
During these phone calls, voters were asked if they have any specific questions about the upcoming election. College Democrats tried their best to answer all questions but referred people to dpo.org, the official website of the Democratic Party of Oregon, when further expertise was needed.
“We are most concerned about getting everybody to the polls,” Daniel Koster ’20, co-president of College Democrats, said. “We believe that if we get everyone to the polls, they are not going to be supporting Donald Trump. We just want to create voter turnout as much as possible.”
In order to orchestrate their previous event, the College Democrats partnered with the Bus Project, a local volunteer-run, democratic non-profit. This organization provided them with the materials necessary to organize a “dorm storm,” a last effort to get students to register a mere two days before the deadline. Volunteers split into two groups, dividing the dorms between them, ensuring that each and every dorm door was knocked on.
“I think this was really important, as many of these people might not have ended up registering,” Charlotte Brownstone ’20, the club’s secretary, said. “It’s always helpful to have a reminder as college life is really busy. I feel like we were able to be that reminder and provide an easy way for people to sign up right then and there.”
Even if the election does not go in their favor, the College Democrats are committed to remaining active after the national election is over. With the help of their previously established relationship with the Democratic community, members hope to become involved with local and state elections. For more information, attend the College Democrats weekly Wednesday meetings in Miller 103 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.