The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday January 29th

Activists Urge Democracy, Cooperation

UNC students are expressing a mix of enthusiasm and frustration throughout the ongoing push and pull of the presidential election.

Campus groups such as the Young Democrats and leaders of an upcoming rally for democracy are gung-ho about making their voices heard regarding the battle of the ballots in Florida.

Some students will host a nonpartisan rally at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Pit, despite a low turnout at a rally last weekend.

"Saturday is the day that several hundred location across the country are holding rallies," said Russ Jones, a freshman political science major involved in the rally. "The main point we want to get across is that democracy should not be sacrificed for the sake of expediency."

Election results in Florida are expected to be finalized by Saturday once overseas absentee ballots are tallied.

"We feel that nothing should be rushed at this time. Whatever is necessary for democracy to be maintained is needed through the entire (presidential election) process."

And members of UNC Young Democrats are not limiting their involvement to campus. "We have a group of Young Democrats heading to Florida this weekend to help out with the efforts down there," said Chris Brook, president of Young Democrats.

Brook said members are visiting Florida to interview residents about possible voter intimidation during voting.

But College Republicans member Justin Johnson said it is not necessary for his organization to go to Florida.

"We are just really ready for (the election) to be over. It seems to me that Gore's people want to recount the ballots until they get the count they want," Johnson said. "If heavily Democratic Palm Beach was being recounted, then why not recount the rest of Florida, or even the rest of the country, to ensure validity?"

Other campus organizations such as the Black Student Movement are using the election debacle to inform people about how each person's vote does make a difference. "This is an opportunity for us to stress the importance of voting and to really look at the political system on a larger scale," said Tyra Moore, president of BSM. "I think that, right now, we are just trying to help one another understand as well as help the larger student body understand that voting is important," Moore said.

By using the situation as a learning experience, Moore said, the BSM is trying to help alleviate the impatience caused by the election.

"I think there is a general sense of frustration with the system and lots of questions are being asked," Moore said.

She also said the BSM, as well as the majority of the student body, just wants an end to the election madness.

"The campus at large would like to see the election over and done with in the fastest and fairest way possible."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.


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