Democracy Matters talks elections, virtual events and money in politics

Democracy Matters hosts a debate watch party in Ham for the Nov. 2019 Democratic Presidential primary debate.

With the presidential election less than a month away, one of the most active clubs on campus right now is Democracy Matters. Thesis student and president of the club Rory Renzy described the club as “a national organization centered on campaign finance reform, public financing of elections and deepening democracy at all levels of government and advocacy.”

“The club’s main goal, at least on a campus like New College where most students are very politically engaged, is to raise awareness of how big money in politics distorts the will of the people and how everyone has a connection to politics, whether it be in their AOC or interests outside of the classroom,” Renzy said. “We try to keep students engaged during election seasons, and informed in off years, when politics isn’t exactly ‘in everyone’s face.’”

For the presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump last week, Democracy Matters held a virtual watch party that included crowd-sourced bingo cards. On Monday, Oct. 5, the club held a drop-in session through Google Meet where they discussed voter registration, the logistics of mail-in voting and content on the ballot such as amendments. 

“We also plan to have a Kahoot game the week before the election, with questions on what’s on the ballot and money in politics,” Renzy said.

Renzy stated that student engagement has been harder since the club moved to completely virtual events, but he has hope for future events since political activism is so familiar to many New College students.

“We have just tried to put ourselves out there as a resource to help in any way we can,” Renzy said. “Election season can be grueling and overwhelming, so keeping things fun and light-hearted is also key, which is luckily something that has worked out virtually so far. Unfortunately, we can’t have speakers come and give talks on democracy-related issues, but if we do do something like that in the spring, Zoom or Google Meet should work just fine, even if the free food won’t be there to entice people.”Democracy Matters meets every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. on Google Meet.

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