2008 election focus of political science course this semester
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
By Wes Burt
(October 7, 2008 September) - An Oklahoma State University instructor is pointing to the 2008 presidential election as one that is both interesting and important for students. Dr. Jeanette Mendez, assistant professor of political science, should know since she’s teaching a course titled “The 2008 Elections.”
While she admits she initially had reservations as to whether students would be interested enough to sign up for the course, they didn’t disappoint her. Forty students enrolled and the class size has not dropped this semester, according to Mendez.
“Four years ago I think students were interested in the election as well, but not to the extent that they are now,” said Mendez, “I think it is an important election and I think that students are realizing it is an important election.”
Mendez says change is one of the key reasons for all the interest this year because, no matter who is elected, there is not going to be an incumbent-led administration in January. “This is the first time in years that either a president or vice president in not campaigning for the presidency.”
Mendez also suspects that students are starting to pay attention because there is so much at stake for them in this election. “We are still in a war, there are issues of health care and these students are about to be on their own, they are about to start contributing to social security and may not receive the benefits. There’s also an energy crisis and gas prices affect everyone. There is just so much for the students to think about and many are getting involved.”
With election day quickly approaching, several students took advantage of the recent student-led “Pokes Vote” event on the OSU Library lawn to register to mark ballots locally in November. They also had a chance to hear from some of the candidates.
While research shows student registration among the 18- to 24-years age group is up this year, Mendez insists it is too early to say whether that will actually translate into more voters. “It is a hard demographic age group to get to vote because people are often registered in their hometown and they’re not going to request absentee ballots. That’s why I think the push on campus to get people to register here in Stillwater is a good idea, because that actually increases peoples chances of showing up to vote.”
Students and others have until Oct. 10 to register to vote in this election. A voter registration form is available for download online at http://www.elections.state.ok.us/ and completed forms can be mailed or personally received on the second floor of the Payne County Election Board, Suite 207, at 315 W. 6th St., Stillwater, OK 74074.