Two former Cal Poly students are attempting to influence the upcoming presidential election in a whole new way. Cliff Branch and David Riordan started TwoVoters.com to help elect presidential candidate Barack Obama by creating videos that can easily be shared on the Web.
“We wanted to remind people what had happened in the last eight years,” Branch said. “We felt we could provide information and if it resonated with people, they could share (the videos with others).”
TwoVoters.com features videos people can download and share for free, directed and produced by Riordan. This has created an exponential effect, evident when “TwoVoters” is searched on Google; over 2,000 hits pop up. The videos they create are viewed more on other Web sites than on their own, Branch said.
One video compares John McCain to President Bush, while another features a soldier talking about how fighting in the Iraq war convinced him to vote for Obama.
“I believe Barack Obama is the leader who offers us the best chance of restoring America to the beacon of hope we once were,” Riordan said in his statement posted on Twovoters.com.
“We don’t think Obama has all the answers, but we do want to push back to the center,” Branch said.
The organization has run national advertisements in publications including USA Today and Rolling Stone. The advertisements were personally funded by Branch, who says that TwoVoters.com is not affiliated with any political party.
Half of the videos are aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 28 and stress how important it is for the young generation to vote.
“We wanted to get students interested in their country,” Branch said. “It is your duty to vote and your duty to be involved in your democracy.”
Branch conducted 70 focus groups involving young people, mostly from Cuesta College and Cal Poly, and said he was stunned to learn how many of them weren’t interested in voting. Nor was there was a stigma attached to not voting.
Students who said they planned on voting were asked why they chose their candidate. Most didn’t have a reason, or used comedy shows such as “The Daily Show,” hosted by Jon Stewart, as a basis, Branch said.
Branch has always been active in civic affairs and his community. Now he wants to pass that desire on to the next generation, he said.
“The basis of democracy is the participation of the citizens,” Branch said. “If citizens stop participating, then we don’t have a democracy.”
Branch and Riordan are not the only Cal Poly graduates involved in this campaign. Kate Younglove, who graduated from Cal Poly last June, is now the national director of college programs for TwoVoters.com.
Younglove organized the San Luis Obispo “Rock the Vote” campaign that took place this spring, and said that it was her first time planning a political event, which is her planned career path.
“The clubs at Cal Poly, especially the political science club, were a great experience and helped me step forward,” Younglove said.
Younglove had moved back to her hometown in Orange County to work on the Obama campaign when Branch contacted her about working for TwoVoters.com
Younglove was offered the job immediately after interviewing for it. It happened so fast that Younglove slept on a friend’s couch while she looked for a place to live, she said.
Younglove’s job is to find student liaisons for the campaign and help them coordinate events at their schools or in their towns.
“Our generation doesn’t see the force we can be (in the election),” Younglove said. “It’s not up to our parents anymore. We can determine the election.”
Her advice to Cal Poly students is to get the school to work for them.
“Use the resources Cal Poly has,” she said. “When you use your talents to their greatest potential, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”
The political science club on campus will be holding a video premiere for TwoVoters.com and student volunteers are needed, Younglove said.
“Instead of complaining, get involved,” she said.