They Said We Couldn’t

Throughout the course of the 2012 Election Cycle, the pundits continued to predict that student turnout would be lower than the 2008 election. They claimed that students were less involved, less excited, running on empty.

But on November 6th we proved them wrong. More than 1,500 Yale students turned out to the polls to vote, almost double the number of Yale students that voted in the 2010 midterm elections and even higher than the number of Yale students that voted in 2008.

Member of the Yale College Democrats canvass for President Obama.

While the pundits may not have been expecting those numbers, what they failed to realize was that students had a lot at stake in this election. In the wake of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, students had a choice between a candidate who recognized the devastation as a real effect of climate change and a candidate who turned climate change into a punch line at the Republican National Convention. Students had a choice between a candidate who affirmed the right of every citizen in this country to love whomever they choose and a candidate who would deny that right to millions of Americans. Students had a choice between a candidate who would work to protect student loans and a candidate who would tell the 55% of Yale students on financial aid to just borrow college money from their parents.

With choices like these, it’s not surprising that students made their voices heard at the polls. But more than just showing up to vote, students had also worked tirelessly to get out the vote. From the beginning of this semester, the Yale College Democrats, the Democratic Town Committees, and Students Unite Now worked together to register more than 500 voters. We canvassed in New Haven together, and the Dems canvassed around the state and out of the state in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Dems even traveled to Pennsylvania over Fall Break.

To those who said that we couldn’t or that we wouldn’t: we said “yes we can” and “yes we will.” To those who said we were less involved or less excited: the thousands of people who we talked to on the phone or at their doors would beg to differ. And to those who said we were running on empty: I can tell you that we are fired up and ready to go for four more years.

Nicole Hobbs is the Elections Coordinator for the Yale College Democrats and a junior in Ezra Stiles College.

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