On the trail: Students help with campaigns for upcoming elections

(From left) Bowling Green sophomore Poorvie Patel and Nashville junior Jacqueline Pitts, both interns at the local Republican Headquarters, laugh as they work a table at Rand Paul’s meet-and-greet on Oct. 10.

Katherine Wade

Thousands of yard signs, bumper stickers and phone calls were spread across the state in preparation for November 2.

Layton Garlington, a freshman from Ruston, La., is responsible for some of them.

He started interning on the campaign for the local Democratic Headquarters in August. He said his duties include doing paperwork, running errands and phoning prospective voters and asking them to cast their ballots for Democratic candidates.

“I feel like I’ve been calling everyone in Kentucky,” he said. “I must have made 2,500 calls in six weeks.”

Garlington, a political science major, said he decided to get involved in the campaign because he feels that the issues in this race are very important, especially education, drugs and job creation. Although he said he has no interest to go into politics, he thinks this experience is very beneficial.

“It builds connections,” he said. “And I feel like I’m contributing. I’ve also learned how to work under pressure and properly assess hierarchy.”

Bowling Green sophomore Poorvie Patel, also a political-science major, is interning at the local Republican Headquarters. She said this was a perfect opportunity for her.

he candidates,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about networking and communication skills.”

Like Garlington, Patel said her responsibilities included running errands, working events and making phone calls.

“The tough thing with the phone calls is that you are going to get rejected – people are going to hang up on you,” she said. “I’ve been chewed out so many times.”

Nashville junior Jacqueline Pitts is also an intern at the Republican Headquarters. She said her experience working there has been great.

“In college, most of us don’t really get involved in politics and don’t know the ins and outs,” she said. “But when you are this close to the action, you get to hear everything and see everything. It’s really cool and fun.”

Pitts, a broadcast journalism major with a political science minor, said working on the campaign has made her consider making politics a bigger part of her future.

With only four days left until the election, both parties are making a last effort at campaigning.

This weekend is “Get Out the Vote,” which Garlington said is a strategy implemented during the 2008 primary. The strategy involves walking door to door asking people to vote and offering rides when needed.

Pitts said the whole process has been great.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “The whole country is just out of control right now. It’s one of the biggest midterm elections I’ve ever seen. It’s been exciting and stressful at the same time.”

Garlington said that as the end of the race gets closer, he’s beginning to feel anxious.

Patel said she’s not only getting busy as the election draws to a close but also feeling a little nostalgic.

“It’s hard to think about Nov. 2 because I’m going to miss all these people,” she said.