OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA Getting in to colleges to get out the vote

Students at community colleges in both states will be enlisted to help.
MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Getting young people across Ohio and Pennsylvania to register to vote is the purpose of a $150,000 grant awarded to the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College.
The regional effort is part of a nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register 350,000 voters in 2006. The drive is coordinated by Young Voter Strategies, a project of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, and funded by a $3 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Dr. Daniel Shea, director of the Center for Political Participation, said his group will recruit and train student leaders at 30 community colleges in Ohio and Pennsylvania to register 20,000 voters on campus and in their communities through peer-to-peer outreach.
"The 2004 election proved that programs to draw young citizens into the political process can work," he said. "Massive outreach efforts in 2004 helped increase young voter turnout by 11 percentage points over 2000 levels."
This drive will run through the summer and early fall.
The center has already hired a project manager from Cleveland and will hire two state coordinators -- one for Ohio and one for Pennsylvania -- to head up teams of students that will spend the summer canvassing the two states.
The goal is to get students, staff and faculty at 15 community colleges in each state to help secure 10,000 new voter registrations in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, Shea said.
Stark State College of Technology in North Canton, Jefferson Community College in Steubenville, Butler County Community College in Butler, Pa., and Community College of Beaver County in Monaca, Pa., are on the target list, he said.
The center will fine tune its college target list in April, he said.
It's a big task, Shea said, noting the drive will push entirely across both states.
The center's project will be used to help create a system that can be used in future efforts to register community college students.
In 2004, voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds jumped 11 percentage points, nearly three times the overall electorate's turnout increase, and more than 20 million 18- to 29-year-olds voted.
The Center for Political Participation seeks to re-energize democracy with its combination of student-centered programs, community outreach and scholarly activities, a news release says.

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