A vigorous and lengthy campaign to mobilize students on campus
for the presidential election will climax today, as student groups
strive to bring students to the polls.

Both the nonpartisan Voice Your Vote Commission, part of the
Michigan Student Assembly, and partisan groups, including Students
for Bush, the College Republicans and the College Democrats, will
be on the Diag, at polling sites and in various voting
districts.

For some, the final push started last night. A few volunteers
with Voice Your Vote distributed door hangers to student precincts
last night. The hangers included information reminding students how
and where to vote.

The group will also call students living off-campus with the
same information. Over the past week and a half, the commission has
called more than 15,000 people to provide voting information, said
commission co-chair Pete Woiwode, an LSA senior.

“It took a lot of volunteers to get that work done,”
he said.

Last night, the College Democrats also canvassed student
neighborhoods with pro-Kerry literature from 4 to 7 p.m. They also
made phone calls to an estimated 1,000 students registered by the
group.

Late in the night, they held a “psych up” party in
the Michigan Union, where people called friends and family,
decorated their cars flyered and chalked all over campus.

But today, the voter mobilization drive will reach its apex.
Some students in the College Democrats will start as early as 5:30
a.m. by painting the Rock on Hill Street and Washtenaw Avenue.

Students for Bush also started chalking and flyering this
morning throughout campus. They will be on the Diag during the day,
passing out stickers, posters and other pro-Bush materials. This
evening, the group will hold a “victory party” in the
Union, although they concede that a definitive outcome is not
guaranteed. “Nobody can be sure (of the winner) at this
point. When the last vote is cast, then we’ll know,”
Students for Bush co-chair and said Anthony Sandoval, an LSA
sophomore.

But throughout its campaign, Students for Bush has run into some
strategic difficulties, largely because Ann Arbor is predominantly
liberal, Sandoval said.

The less-visible Bush supporters have been “battling with
group-think” and some signs of liberal antagonism. “I
think people are scared to be the minority,” he said.
“More than anything, our goal is just to show that we are out
there.”

The voter mobilization drive will last well into the evening.
The College Democrats will work the polls, lobby on the Diag and
drive voters to the polls by van, said LSA junior Ramya Raghavan,
chair of the College Democrats. They will also provide
entertainment and guidance for those waiting in lines at polling
sites, not only in Ann Arbor, but also in Detroit, Scio Township
and Ypsilanti. But the group is focusing on students, Raghavan
said.

Voice Your Vote will have about 50 volunteers at the polls to
ensure that everybody who is eligible is able to vote. The
objective is to have a nonpartisan presence at the polls in case
conflicts emerge. “We know that there is a great deal of
potential for it not to go smoothly,” Woiwode said.

Not all polling conflicts, however, are accidental, and
intentional deception has occurred in the past. Students are
sometimes told falsely, for instance, that they are not allowed to
vote in a town that isn’t their home. “That’s
what we’re trying to stop, to just clarify the process and
make sure everyone’s informed in this election,”
Woiwode added.

Voice Your Vote is also driving both Ann Arbor residents from
their homes to the polls and students who have gone to the wrong
polling place to the correct location.

In addition, the Alpha Iota Omicron fraternity is teaming up
with the South Asian Awareness Network and Citizen Change to
present the Vote or Die campaign — sponsored by rapper
P.Diddy on the Diag — encouraging students to go to the
polls. The presentation, which has been publicized on MTV, is
expected to start at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

“It’s important to create electricity to really get
it big,” president of Alpha Iota Omicron Neal Pancholi said.
“People will pay attention. they’ve seen it on TV.
There are superstars names behind it.”

— Daily Staff Reporter Victoria Edwards contributed to
this article.

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