Wellesley Student Groups Encourage Participation in 2018 Midterm Elections

A tight shot of a hand holding an "I voted" sticker
November 6, 2018

It’s Election Day! The nonpartisan Committee for Public and Legislative Awareness (CPLA), the Wellesley College Democrats, the Wellesley College Republicans, and the Knapp Social Science Center (KSSC) will be hosting an election night party to watch the results in Tishman Commons from 7 pm to midnight with food, games, and other activities for the community.

The KSSC will also sponsor a midterm election debrief on Wednesday from 12:30 to 2 pm in the Knapp Atrium, where Wellesley professors will share their takeaways from the results.

For the past few months, members of Wellesley College student-led organizations have participated in a wide variety of activities to encourage electoral participation among their peers.

The CPLA held nine voter registration drives in October in collaboration with eight other student organizations: Ethos, Wellesley Asian Alliance (WAA), Sexual Assault Awareness for Everyone (SAAFE), Wellesley Association for South Asian Cultures (WASAC), Enact, Punch’s Alley, the Wellesley College Democrats, and the Wellesley College Republicans. Students helped each other fill out absentee ballots as well as register to vote. In total, CPLA helped register 150 Wellesley students to vote.

Ninan Pollack ’20, chair of CPLA, finds young voter engagement heartening, particularly on Wellesley’s campus. “Historically young people have not voted in midterm elections—according to the New York Times, only 20 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in the 2014 midterms, compared to 40 percent of the general population,” she said. “But when young people do vote, we have the opportunity to radically change the composition of our government and support representatives who reflect our beliefs and advocate on behalf of our communities!”

The Wellesley College Democrats have also held three phone-banking events this semester: one for gubernatorial candidates, one for senatorial candidates, and one for candidates for the House of Representatives. At each event, upward of 30 people came together to campaign for Democratic candidates across the country. The Wellesley Dems have also canvassed in the town of Wellesley, as well as in New Hampshire, for local candidates.

In addition to their efforts with voter registration and engagement and campaigning in support of Republican candidates, the Wellesley College Republicans raised money through a sticker campaign for Hurricane Michael relief in the weeks leading up to the election. The group will also be holding a Bills & Bowling event, where they will bring 20 students together at a bowling alley to talk about important upcoming federal legislation in a low-stress environment.

“Regardless of the results of the election, the Wellesley College Republicans look forward to a better future,” said Kaila Webb ’20, the group’s president. “We believe in democracy, and hope that a new wave of elected officials can bring forth the good that Americans wish to see in the world.”

Special thanks to the Wellesley College Democrats, the Wellesley College Republicans, and CPLA for their help with this story.

With reporting from Christine Roberts ’19