How the Stonybrook college democrats chapter in Long Island, New York registered 700 college students to vote in only 24 hours!
It was a perfect storm of campaign volunteers, committed students, and the happenstance of the major club recruitment far on campus coalescing into approximately 700 voters registered in a 24 hour time frame. It started at 7pm on Tuesday night, when a dozen members of the Stony Brook College Democrats joined together with campaign volunteers for Long Island for Obama, an organization they'd been in touch with since prior to February 5th. They paired off, student with volunteer, young with old, to hit up one of the residential quads on the campus, knocking on doors and talking to students, gathering 60 voters, but learning that the night prior, one of the buildings had their own voter registration drive and netted an additional 60 that evening.
But that was just the beginning. The next day was the club involvement fair for all recognized clubs on the campus. This chapter, being new, viewed the event that day as a coming out party, so to speak, a chance to show the campus they meant business. So, they called in the big guns.
A word to all clubs: make friends with your local elected officials. Through use of the county democratic chair, the Long Island for Obama Campaign, and volunteers from three local campaigns: Steve Englebright's Assembly race, an incumbent with ties to the university, Brian Foley's state senate race, against an entrenched incumbent to potentially flip the State Senate, and Tim Bishop's Congressional race, the incumbent in a race against an Iraq veteran, who hopes to win by a large margin. These three campaigns supplied workers, buttons, signs, forms, and manpower needed to do what would come next.
Over 600 voters, the total count still not known, were registered in that three hour period between noon and 3pm. The University aided in this with its own voter registration drive, but the majority was done by the Democratic volunteers.
Stony Brook is a campus of around 15,000 undergraduates. 600 were registered in three hours, the majority being new Democrats. Also, not that it matters, but the new little club headed by the insane and overworked Alex H. Nagler received 87 new interested members. And he got to laugh at his sad, dejected friends over at the College Republicans table, who realized their $32,000 meant nothing without manpower and interest.
The fate of the club post-11/4 remains unknown, as do the fates of many new Democratic clubs. But with obvious interest and the local infrastructure in place, the Stony Brook College Democrats look to be a force to be reckoned with.
Alex H. Nagler
Stonybrook College Democrats Chapter President