UNI students back on campus & ready to start politicking - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI students back on campus & ready to start politicking

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

With less than 80 days before the 2012 Presidential Election, this weekend marks the unofficial launch of the student politicking season. University of Northern Iowa students are back on campus and ready to hit the campaign trail.

Sunday afternoon, dozens of young Democrats gathered for their annual "Progressive Picnic". The students are aware of the significance of November's election and are working to educate their peers on the issues.

"I think it's very important to vote, because we're the up and coming generation. We're making decisions that will affect us for many years to come. We're making decisions right now that will affect our children," said Democrat Sarah Holmes.

That's the same reason a group of College Republicans jumped on board a Romney tour bus this week, making phone calls on behalf of the party.

"I've been a Republican pretty much all my life. I remember growing up listening to my dad talk about the issues and it's always been really important to me to stay involved," said Lucas Draisey.

The 2008 election proved the young vote not only matters, it launched Barack Obama to the White House. But Draisey believes, this year, the tide is turning.

"They saw a lot of promises he had, the lofty goals, and his goal of changing Washington. Which resonated with a lot of people. But, in practice, after four years as president, things haven't changed," said Draisey.

More seasoned members of the Black Hawk County GOP are excited to see the swell of support from a new generation.

"I think the kids coming out of school realize there's no jobs. That we need a government that cares about our employees," said chairperson Garland "Mac" McDonald.

At the Progressive Picnic, support for the President was strong. As Cedar Falls Senator Jeff Danielson explained, the important thing is for young people to keep this energy alive, and get their friends to the polling place on election day.

"Their opinion matters. As much as their parents and grandparents. And it is very important that they express that opinion through voting," said Danielson.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about half of the nation's 18 through 24 year olds voted in 2008. The majority of them (66%) either attend, or had attended, college.

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