College Students Seek Greater Representation In D.C. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

College Students Seek Greater Representation In D.C.

Play associated audio

Some college students in the District say they deserve a greater say in local politics. They're trying to take advantage of the city's new same-day registration law to get more students elected in districts that represent campuses or dorms.

But this new electoral activism is rankling some old-time activists.

Tom Smith says when he found out an American University freshman was challenging him for his Advisory Neighborhood Commission spot, he didn't need help galvanizing his neighbors in Spring Valley to get out and vote –- the threat of a student deciding zoning issues and other matters took care of voter apathy.

Smith ended up winning by a healthy margin, but he thinks the new election laws are open for abuse.

"When you change your voter registration for one election with the intent...of changing it back immediately thereafter -- as in this case, students were told they could do -- that is gaming the system," he says.

It's estimated that undergraduate students make up more than 10 percent of D.C.'s population.

But until the new election laws were passed making it easier to register to vote, there were few opportunities to flex this political clout.

Georgetown University student Jake Sticka is one of two college students who won an ANC spot in the last election cycle. He's now working with college students on other campuses to push for more representation

"It's a little ironic that in a city like D.C. that so often talks about disenfranchisement...for then so many of those same residents to say to students, 'You don't deserve a vote here, you don't deserve to have representation,' I see that as somewhat hypocritical," Sticka says.

Sticka says he's learned one major lesson from his experience so far: all politics is local.

NPR

For Wintry Weather, An Especially Cold And Snowy Tale

This week we celebrated not only Christmas, but also the solstice — the shortest day of the year. In honor of this wintry weather, author Edward Carey recommends his favorite winter fairy tale.
NPR

Nutmeg Spice Has A Secret Story That Isn't So Nice

Nutmeg is a feel-good holiday spice. But it once caused serious bloodshed and may have even been a reason the Dutch were willing to part with Manhattan in the 1600s.
WAMU 88.5

Special Prosecutors Should Handle Civilian Shootings By Police, Holmes Norton Says

Norton says mayors and governors could stem anger over civilian shootings by police by appointing special prosecutors to handle them.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #MuslimApologies Grew Out Of Both Anger And Whimsy

Maha Hilal helped launch #MuslimApologies partly as a rebuttal to the more earnest hashtag, #NotInOurName. She tells Audie Cornish how it reflects a divisive conversation in the Muslim community.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.