“Our polling,” says Erin Larkin, an organizer from Seattle, Wash., “shows more than 70 percent of college students believe they can effect change when they work as a group. Voting is a perfect way for them to do that.”
Larkin has been on the road for the past month. Before coming to Asheville to organize UNCA students, she was in Colorado and Wisconsin doing similar work. The Public Interest Research Group runs the New Voters Project and claims to have help register nearly 2 million young people to vote since 1984. In 26 states, there are organizers like Larkin doing the same thing.
“Just last week we met our goal of making 100,000 contacts with college students in North Carolina. Locally, we have made over 14,000 contacts right here in Asheville,” Larkin says.
At the polling place where most UNCA student residents would vote, there was a steady stream of college-age voters — usually in groups of two or three — coming to vote. As they left, Larkin hit them up to take a photo with the giant mustache. “It’s our slogan this year,” she said with a smile, “I mustache you to vote.”
And how does Larkin like Asheville? “I like it. Reminds me of home a lot. I have had a great time here.”
Local singer/songwriter Billy Jonas mugs with the ‘stache after voting.