Hundreds of people crowded onto Farrand Field in the center of the CU campus to hear Michelle Obama, the wife of presidential candidate Sen. Obama, speak about the importance of voting in the 2008 election Wednesday.
The event, which was open to the public, was hosted by the CU Student Union.
The line began to form at 8:30 a.m. and was composed of only a few dozen people. By 10 a.m., it stretched several hundred feet to the east of the field.
People of all ages waited in anticipation, dressed in their “Change” Obama t-shirts as a swarms of voter registration volunteers walked the line and registered the eager political participants.
Political officials have predicted an increase in vote turn-out from the young demographic, ages 18-25. In addition to that increase, Obama said that on the campaign trail, she has met more people than ever who have registered to vote when they never had before.
She said that 170,000 young people across the nation have not registered yet.
“With 170,000 students alone, we can make the difference,” she said. “What we’re asking right here on the CU campus, register right now. We have a goal of registering 4,100 students on this campus. We are half way there. I am asking you – personally – let’s get that goal.”
Obama said to the crowd, “even if you have registered,” “your job is to find five other trifling people in your life” and convince them to register to vote.
“We need everyone in the sound of my voice to be engaged,” she said. “We need people to register today.”
She emphasized the weight and importance of the individual vote in Colorado, a swing-state in the election.
“This is a swing state – and we want some swinging to go on right here,” she said. “What happens here in the state can set the tone for the rest of the election.”
Prominent political figures, CU students and local celebrities supported Obama’s message. Speakers included but were not limited to:
/ The CU Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson
/ CU students
/ Jared Polis, democratic candidate for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District
/ Rod Smith, former wide-receiver for the Denver Broncos
/ Jeannie Ritter, first lady of Colorado
/ Maggie Fox, wife of Congressman and U.S. senate candidate Mark Udall
Rod Smith, former wide-receiver for the Denver Broncos, told the crowd to register immediately so that they would not regret not doing so in the future.
“I suffered enough by not voting, and you know what I did the whole time? Complained about it,” he said. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote.”
All of the speakers emphasized the importance of every individual’s vote, and said that voting is an honor and a right.
Jared Polis, democratic candidate for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, said that the student vote and most importantly the young vote “will make the difference in this election.”
With the national voter registration deadline quickly approaching, Obama said, “We’re running out of time.”
With the national registration deadline only four day away on Oct. 6, voter registration efforts have kicked into overdrive across the nation. Registration efforts on college campuses have increased significantly during the final push.
VoteCSU!, CSU’s non-partisan voter registration coalition started its final push to register 10,000 students this week.
Coalition members traveled to classes this first part of the week and passed out standard and mail-in ballot registration forms.
On Friday, Oct. 3, VC is hosting their first annual Voter Blitz in the Plaza to the east of the Lory Student Center. Students will be able to register to vote, participate in various activities and watch performances by local bands.
Obama said in regards to the impact of the American vote, “We can change our future, we can perhaps change the world.”
Staff writer Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org