Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The right to vote

I received a request from a student organizer for the right to vote - the New Voters Project - for COPIRG in Colorado. I wrote the response below to people in my department and at several universities in Colorado. But I think it could be extended to every classroom and workplace across the country (and as Arab spring made clear, around the world). There is currently a great effort at voter suppression in the United States, including an effort to remove more than half a million voters in Pennsylvania. John Lewis was on DemocracyNow Labor Day morning speaking about the sacredness of this right here. He and others have paid the price to make this a possibility. This is the cause for which my childhood friend Andy Goodman gave his life. It is a matter of honor to respond to it.

"Dear all,

Andrew Livingston from the New Voters project of COPIRG, registering students and others to vote, asked me to speak in my class about each student registering to vote (see his letter below) . The issue here is a basic right, one fought for in the American Revolution and in the civil rights movement, the right to vote. It is a right which has also been fought for in Arab spring. It seems to me that every class in our university could benefit from discussing this matter at least briefly and that what Andrew asks is actually a public obligation. I hope you will join with me and deluge him with requests (so that he has to mobilize more people to help him).

All the best,

"Hi Professor,

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful summer.

I'm the new field organizer for the Colorado Public Interest Research Group's (COPIRG) New Voters Project. COPIRG is a statewide student-directed and student-funded nonprofit group. We are working to make sure University of Denver students have the opportunity to get registered to vote this semester. I'd like to make a 5 minute presentation in your classes letting students know about a great opportunities to get involved.

In the past decade we've registered over 100,000 young people to vote in Colorado. This year we're working to register another 20,000 across Colorado and 2,000 at University of Denver alone. We'll also work to make sure they turn out to vote in the November election. Over the next few weeks we'll be hosting events on campus as well as speaking in classes to students about why voting is important.

It would be great if we could come to your class to briefly talk to your students about COPIRG and remind them to register to vote before October 9th. Please let me know if this is possible, and if so, when I could come in to speak.

Thank you so much! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Andrew Livingston
DU Campus Organizer
COPIRG New Voter Project"

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