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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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GOP: Give credit where credit is due

On behalf of the UW-Madison College Republicans, I am writing in response to last week?s op-ed by the College Democrats of Madison?s Claire Rydell (?Dems get out vote, show true dedication?). While I don?t doubt Ms. Rydell?s sincerity in believing that it was her organization that was responsible for the high voter turnout in the Wisconsin primary, she did miss several quite obvious points and had more than a few ?facts? about the CRs wrong.

First, I want to thank the CDM for their extensive ?Get Out the Vote? initiative. You guys were outside and knocking on doors all day, and I?m sure you did your part to remind several students to vote. You cannot, however, give yourselves all of the credit. This has been one of the most highly contested races in politics in our time, and I have a feeling that with or without your help, the number of voters still would have surpassed those of the past. It?s probably not so much that young voters have been disengaged in the past and the CDM finally invigorated today?s youth ? as Ms. Rydell alludes to ? but more likely that there are actually more of us this time around, as children of the baby boomers are now of legal voting age. More voters means more votes.

Ms. Rydell goes on to ?contrast the amazing effort of the Democratic groups on campus to what work ? or lack thereof ? the College Republicans put forward to turn out voters on Election Day.? The easy way out of this one would be to say that we didn?t have much of a primary in the GOP and, therefore, didn?t need to encourage voting. This, however, would be as ineffectual as Ms. Rydell?s assumption that we did nothing.

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The CRs, too, registered voters ? over half of my executive board has been deputized by the city of Madison to register people to vote, regardless of party identification. We sent out e-mails and spread the word about polling locations and same-day registration, much like the CDM did. We had volunteers at polling locations, and I spent the better part of my afternoon driving students to their respective polling locations so they wouldn?t have to walk in the cold. We also hosted the only GOP primary party in Dane County where our members were invited regardless of who they voted for earlier in the day, instead of having to choose sides. The only way the CDM ?one-upped? the CRs on this one was by having a tent on Library Mall. But if your purpose was really to serve the greater good and not just to make your organization appear important, why condemn the CRs instead of just doing your civic duty and encouraging all students to vote?

Looking at the polling numbers it?s no surprise that Democratic candidates had six times the votes of Republicans for three simple reasons. One, we are based on a college campus where the majority of the voters vote Democrat in the first place. Two, we live in Madison ? the ?Heart of Liberal America? (see point one). Three, many Republicans voted in the Democratic primary in an effort to get the DNC to nominate the more beatable candidate.

While I thank the College Democrats for their efforts on Election Day, I deplore their oversight of the efforts of the College Republicans. Next time, please be as democratic as you claim and congratulate all parties involved.

Sara Mikolajczak ([email protected]) is the chair of the UW-Madison College Republicans.

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