LSA senior Sam Marvin, a voter registration volunteer, stopped two students at Maize Craze last weekend. He asked if they were registered to vote, and they told him they weren’t U.S. citizens.

But instead of heading off in search of Maize Craze giveaways, the two asked Marvin, a member of the College Democrats, how they could help Barack Obama get elected.

“Most of the people I’ve talked to have already been for Obama, and their questions are more ‘How do I get involved?’” Marvin said.

Armed with clipboards and voter registration forms, the College Democrats have made their presence felt on the Diag, at Meijer Madness, Artscapade, Escapade and the Taste of Michigan. They haven’t been passing out information about the Democratic presidential nominee, though. And they say that’s because they don’t need to.

“It’s not really that hard of a sell around here,” LSA senior Daniel Villamarin, vice chair of the College Democrats, said of the Democratic ticket, which includes vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Instead, the group’s aim is to register every student on campus — a lofty goal, but College Democrats chair Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer says the group is well on its way.

“We’ve exceeded all of our expectations,” said Styer, who said the Obama campaign asked him not to release the number of registration forms the group has collected.

The group has sold signs, T-shirts and stickers to raise money for its future campaign efforts, which include four “District Invasions,” where members will campaign door-to-door for Democratic candidates. They’re campaigning next weekend for State Sen. Mark Schauer as he challenges U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th Congressional district, and traveling to Ohio State University’s campus over fall break to register voters and canvass for Obama. And they’ll spend a day registering voters in Detroit.

With exactly two months until the election, the College Democrats have each day thoroughly planned out. They’ll be on the Diag every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Oct. 6, the state’s deadline to register voters.

And when they ask students if they’re registered, they’re also going to push for out-of-state students to register in Ann Arbor.

“Michigan is going to be a very crucial swing state,” Styer said. “Every single vote in Michigan counts and counts highly.”

On Oct. 9 and Oct. 23, the College Democrats and the College Republicans will participate in debates sponsored by the School of Public Policy.

Brady Smith, chair of the College Republicans, said his group is excited to participate, posing alternatives to the prevalent opinions on campus, but don’t expect to convince a majority of sudents to vote for McCain.

In the Michigan primary election, 70 percent of the 1,267 ballots cast at student precincts in Ann Arbor were for Democrats.

“My goal is to make sure that we’re loud, hard-fought, and a respected voice on campus,” Smith said. “I want to challenge people on this campus.”

To do that, the group will host several Republican politicians, including State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who is challenging five-term incumbent Sen. Carl Levin.

The College Republicans will hold weekly phonebanks for Republican presidential nominee John McCain and plan to canvass for U.S. Rep Joe Knollenberg in Oakland County and U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th district, which includes parts of western Washtenaw County.

While the College Republicans might try to register voters while they canvass, Smith said that wouldn’t be the focus.

“Getting out the vote can only do so much,” Smith said. “You also need to educate the vote. What good is an uninformed voter?”

Smith said he’s optimistic the College Republicans will present a solid case for McCain and the GOP on campus. Despite the group’s limited recruitment efforts, Smith said he’s received e-mails from about 10 students looking to get involved this fall.

Smith said he expects the group, which currently has about 50 active members, to see a “tremendous spike” after tomorrow’s mass meeting.

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