With November 6th approaching rapidly, campus clubs and organizations are doubling down on their efforts to increase engagement with the political process before Election Day. Haverford Democrats, Haverford Republicans, and non-partisan newcomer Haverford Votes are all seeking to do their part to get Haverford students and community members to exercise their right to vote.
As co-presidents of Haverford Democrats, Sam Epstein ’19 and Charlie Frindt ’19 are taking a boots-on-the-ground approach to political activism and bringing conversations to campus.
“We are working with local canvassing operations to get students involved with knocking on doors in the communities around the College in support of the Coordinated Democratic campaigns for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Pennsylvania State House, and Pennsylvania State Senate,” said Epstein and Frindt via email. “Moreover, we received Students’ Council funding to secure transportation to drive students out to Exton, Pa., to knock on doors there, where the races are very competitive for Democrats.”
Will Karp ’20 of the Haverford College Republicans is also leading his group to engage with the political process, and has joined Haverford Democrats and Haverford Votes in hosting voter registration drives by tabling in the Dining Center alongside local volunteers and encouraging campus conversation about the midterms.
“We are helping promote awareness that the election is happening, helping students learn about the candidates, and using more grassroots style methods to help get out the vote,” he said. “Moreover, we are planning on heading a national ‘All-In’ initiative that would track our progress and strategies to help campuses across the country improve their voting turnout.”
Haverford Votes began this semester as an evolution of No Labels, an earlier student club that similarly worked to increase voter turnout and engagement with politics at Haverford. Led by Allie Corcoran ’19, Madeline Guth ’19, Ethan Lyne ’19, Trevor Larner ’19, Kirsten Mullin ’19, and Cecil Ross ’20, Haverford Votes in committed to increasing the accessibility of voter registration and showing up to the polls this election season.
“Since the start of school, Haverford Votes has been focused on voter registration, and ensuring that every student on Haverford’s campus that wants to register on campus has the ability to do so,” said the co-heads of the group via email. “As we get closer to the midterms, we will focus more on voter engagement and knowledge. On the date of the midterms, we will work to ensure that all Haverford students are able to get to the polling place on campus by posting signs around campus and being stationed at the polls in case anything comes up. We want to make voting easy and fun for students and help them be informed voters by providing information.”
Haverford’s on-campus polling place is new this year, after much local publicity and numerous attempts to get a closer, more-accessible location for students on campus and community members in the district. (Prior to this year, Coopertown Elementary School was the designated polling place for the College and surrounding area, which was difficult to access without a car due to sidewalk-less streets and located outside of the actual precinct.) All three student groups expressed support and excitement for this new on-campus polling option.
“We believe that Haverford students and local community members deserve to have a polling place that is actually within their precinct,” said Epstein and Frindt. “We also recognize that such a place exists right on Haverford’s campus that is very accessible to both [students and community members].”
“I think we would all agree that the voting location should be in the most convenient location for as many voters as possible,” said Karp. “I support the efforts to move the voting location more central to the district. We are proud to be part of the movement to get out the vote for each election.”
On behalf of Haverford Votes, the co-heads wrote: “We are incredibly excited about Haverford getting a polling place! We think that this move will enable all Haverford students to fit voting into their schedules, as they will no longer have to time it around van trips as in the past. We hope to see voter turnout at Haverford soar as a result of this change. Further, we believe this is a better location for the precinct as a whole, as it is centrally located, as compared to Coopertown Elementary, which was not even located within our precinct. We are excited to help Haverford in its role of hosting voting for the precinct!”
Though the results of the midterms remain to be seen, Haverford students remain engaged and ready to help their peers navigate this tumultuous political climate. Though the deadline for voter registration has officially passed in Pennsylvania, there is plenty of time to join Haverford Democrats, Haverford Republicans, and Haverford Votes in the movement to encourage everyone to do their civic duty and make meaningful political changes this November.
Photos by Holden Blanco ’17 and Alexandra Iglesia ’21.