Students for Hillary held a “Why #ImWithHer” event on the Diag at the University of Michigan on Monday — just one of the events held in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in anticipation of Election Day.
The group set up a table and asked students passing by to take photos with a cutout of Clinton and state why they were supporting her in the upcoming presidential election.
With the election just one week away, club members said they want to both spread word about the election and encourage students to vote for Clinton, as well as show support for the nominee on social media. LSA freshman Suraj Sorab, a member of the Students for Hillary leadership team, said the club is increasing its efforts in the final week leading up to the election.
“The election is coming up next week and we wanted to make sure that in terms of ‘get out the vote’ that we are coming upon making sure that people are voting for Clinton,” Sorab said. “We chose the Diag because it is very public and we want to make sure that we can get Hillary Clinton into office.”
In addition to today’s Diag event, the University’s chapter of College Democrats canvassed with Clinton’s campaign in East Lansing during the Saturday football game between Michigan and Michigan State as part of a competition between the two schools to recruit the most volunteers.
Along with a final campaign push prior to the election, many groups were active in voter registration prior to the Oct. 11 deadline. Now, organizations at the University continue to raise awareness through demonstrations on the Diag and watch parties during presidential debates.
Sorab said after the registration deadline passed the focus switched to keeping voters aware of the upcoming election date.
“While voter registration was still open we were out trying to get people to register to vote so we can mobilize as many voters as possible for Clinton — even though we registered anyone regardless of who they supported,” Sorab said. “Now that the registration is over, our focus is in sending out emails and text messages, and these public displays as well.”
In addition to local efforts, Clinton’s campaign has nationally been working to appeal to the youth vote in addition to encouraging people to participate on Election Day. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, hosted a conference call with students around the country in September reminding them of the importance of millennial participation in the election.
Young people historically have low voter turnouts and the current millennial generation is no exception. While there has been a gradual increase over the years, the numbers of young voters still remains low. Less than 20 percent of people under 30 voted in the 2014 midterm elections — the lowest youth turnout rate in recorded federal election history.
During the primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I–Vt.) support from college students helped him up-set Clinton and win the state of Michigan. Following Sanders’s strong presence on the University’s campus, he returned to campaign for Clinton for the general election in attempt to persuade college students to vote for Clinton.
Despite students’ support of Sanders in the primary, LSA junior Jay Dutcher, campus outreach chair of Students for Hillary at the University, said he believes Clinton is the best candidate not just for the nation, but also for college students.
“Hillary believes in the American Dream and believes that America is already great and believes in the future for kids our age and human rights,” Dutcher said. “She thinks all kids should have equal opportunity with their education and future.”