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

'Dragonfish' Offers A Noir Vision Of An 'American Dream Gone Rancid'

The debut novel by Vu Tran is a crime drama involving a white cop, his Vietnamese-born ex-wife and her new husband, a violent crime boss. Maureen Corrigan calls Dragonfish a "haunting literary novel."
NPR

How New Jersey Tamed The Wild Blueberry For Global Production

In the past 10 years, the global blueberry crop has tripled. Yet the big, round commercial blueberry is a fairly recent innovation. It was created by breeders exactly 100 years ago, in New Jersey.
NPR

Just How Arbitrary Is Fox's 10-Person GOP Debate Cutoff?

The top 10 candidates, as determined by Fox's analysis of polls, will debate Thursday. But even when you average polls together, it's tough to tell the difference between the lower-ranked hopefuls.
NPR

Sexist Reactions To An Ad Spark #ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign

After being surprised by online responses to her appearance in a recruiting ad, engineer Isis Wenger wanted to see if there anyone else felt like they didn't fit a "cookie-cutter mold."

Leave a Comment

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