Pennsylvania is a key player in primaries

Pennsylvania has never mattered so much before. On April 22, Pennsylvania residents are going to be largely responsible for the outcome of the Democratic party nomination. Today will dictate the potential power Pennsylvania actually has in this primary, though, because today is the voter registration deadline.

This year’s presidential primary has been muddled with states trying to move up their deadlines, which has cost a huge voting party, that of Florida and Michigan, a huge price. In the 2004 election, the largest group of voters were senior citizens, with 79 percent of those eligible registering to vote. But Florida, the state with the largest population of senior citizens, has been auf-ed, and that leaves the state with the number two largest senior citizen population to make that impact: Pennsylvania.

There’s also that other demographic, the young, who should rock this vote. The impact that college students should, and want to have, is manifest in Carnegie Mellon Students for Barack Obama group. With no school funding and no official club status (which means they can’t table in the UC), their capabilities should be limited — and yet, they are everywhere. They remain steadfast in the black chairs in the UC, and wander campus asking if we’re registered to vote, regardless of whom we’ll vote for. Students for Obama even helped get Carnegie Mellon graduate Zachary Quinto from Heroes to campus to encourage students to register to vote. Their tenacity is wonderful, and for that The Tartan applauds them.

Students for Obama isn’t the only group making an impact on voter registration on campus: Many faculty have sent out voter registration information and reminders via e-mail, and stacks of registration forms are everywhere. AB Tech, student government, and College Democrats have also helped with registration throughout the year.

The numbers are telling. In the week of March 10 alone, 1453 already-registered voters changed their party to Democratic in Allegheny County; 22,152 people changed their party to Democratic in Pennsylvania. In a state where you have to be registered as a Democrat — not just an Independent voter — the party switch is important and telling. People are helping make a huge difference in our country’s politics, and for the first time in a long time Pennsylvania is going to matter. Kudos to those encouraging change, and most especially to the Students for Obama group.