Obama for America stops in Iowa City, pushes early voting
More people are voting early this election year in Johnson County, and Obama for America officials maintain early voting is something college students can and should take advantage of.
The Democratic National Committee and Obama for America officials brought their Gotta Vote bus tour to Iowa City on Monday. The tour, which encouraged attendees to register and vote early, will continue on to Davenport today, then make stops in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
The program featured actor Tate Donovan and Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, along with former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and Georgetown law student-turned-women’s-health-advocate Sandra Fluke.
She backed early voting, especially for college students.
“Anything can happen on Election Day,” she said. “Don’t wait to vote. College students’ lives are crazy.”
Fluke said voting early, regardless of candidate, helps the respective party better allocate its resources by focusing on those who are still undecided.
As of Sept. 28, 12,478 early voting ballots had been requested locally. Only 7,724 ballots were requested 39 days before the election in 2008, which was down from 11,697 in 2004, according to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.
UI senior Linda Pan, a student from China, is not able to vote but stopped by the event due to the international implications the election will have.
“It matters a lot,” Pan said. “[The election] will definitely affect foreign policy.”
Pan, who did not have a preference in candidates, plans to watch the presidential debate on Wednesday.
Romney spokeswoman Alissa Ohl said the Romney campaign is working hard to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to vote, especially because Republicans hold a voter-registration advantage in the state for the first time in six years.
“Our campaign is working hard to ensure that regardless of whether a voter prefers to cast her or his ballot early or on Nov. 6, he or she will have the opportunity to voice support for Gov. Romney,” she said.
Donovan encouraged everyone to not only watch the debates but to pay attention to the minor details in the policies of both candidates.
“I love the debates,” he said. “It’s going to be a great example of the differences between the candidates.”
Donovan said although the Gotta Vote program encourages voters to vote early, people should wait until they feel fully confident in their choice for president.
“People should wait until they feel fully informed,” he said. “But if you watch the news, you pretty much know who these men are.”
Fluke also brushed off the argument that by voting early, voters miss out on their opportunity to truly understand the country’s issues and the candidates’ stances on them.
“We’ve had Obama for four years now,” she said. “There are very clear differences between the candidates.”
Judge said the stakes are high in the first presidential debate, and issues critical to the state of Iowa would likely be addressed. She said both renewable fuel and energy would be key points of the debate, as well as the candidate’s stances on exports.
“You’re going to see clear differences in vision between the candidates,” she said.
UI junior Bill Cook, a member of the UI Democrats, plans to watch the debate on Wednesday. In fact, he encourages all students to do so.
“I’d encourage them to not only watch the debates but to pay attention and really be analytical,” he said.
Cook has yet to vote, but he plans to make a trip to the closest voting station as soon as his busy schedule will allow it.
“It’s kind of like turning in an assignment early,” he said. “It will feel to good to know that I voted, and that it’s completely set in stone.”
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