Students lobby for political favorites

Jerome C. Pandell

With the arrival of Election Day, some Northwestern students, in addition to voting, are flexing their political muscle by volunteering at polling places on behalf of candidates and parties.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. The Office of the Cook County Clerk said Monday that about 90 percent of the vote will be counted by 8 p.m. The clerk’s office will post results online at www.voterinfonet.com.

Katie Althen, president of NU’s College Republicans, said several members of her group are volunteering for various campaigns even though the organization does not have any major events planned for election night.

“A lot of the people who would be most prone to come out and do something with the group are already doing their own thing,” said Althen, a Weinberg junior. “We have a bunch of different members that are doing campaigning on Election Day.”

Althen said students belonging to College Republicans would probably get together later tonight and wait for the winners to be announced.

“We’ll be there with other conservatives and Republicans to give each other moral support as the results come in,” she said. “Even in a winning year, it’s nice to have other Republicans around because they’re a little hard to come by on this campus.”

Ben Kohlmann, a member of College Republicans, started volunteering four months ago for the campaign of James O’Hara, who is running against incumbent Democrat Julie Hamos for the 18th District seat of the Illinois House of Representatives.

“It’s been a great learning experience working with (O’Hara) over the last four months and learning about the political process,” said Kohlmann, a Weinberg junior. “I think he has a good shot at doing very well.”

Today, Kohlmann and other volunteers will have an early start, putting up yard signs at polling places and making phone calls to voters to improve turnout.

NU’s College Libertarians had their first meeting last week, said group President Jason Konik, leaving no time to organize any activities for Election Day.

“Cal Skinner is our candidate for governor,” said Konik, a Weinberg sophomore. “He’s been the only one in favor of lowering cigarette taxes as well as cutting government spending in general.”

Weinberg junior Toni Biasiello is the volunteer coordinator for Green Party candidate Jason Farbman, who is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Harry Osterman in the 14th District for the Illinois House of Representatives.

Biasiello, who has worked on a campaign before, said she feels her role in the Green Party has made a positive impact because Farbman’s candidacy puts pressure on the incumbent.

“This is my first campaign experience where I’ve had any authority,” Biasiello said. “A lot of people have met (Farbman) and a lot of people like what he has to say.”

The Daily’s Erin Ward contributed to this article.