President Obama targets out-of-state college students during Cleveland State visit

College students being asked to register in Ohio

CLEVELAND - President Barack Obama arrived in Cleveland fresh off a disappointing debate against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Tuesday.

The President spoke at Cleveland State University as the rain came down and students soaked up every word. 

Visiting college campus's in Ohio has become part of Obama's campaign strategy. He's been to Bowling Green and Kent University, where he told students who might be registered in other states, but go to an Ohio school to register here.

"Ohio is a swing state," said Tom Sutton, Baldwin Wallace professor and Newschannel5 political analyst. "In Ohio, we have a lot of people that are here from places like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. So they want the students to register in Ohio, where that constituency will likely help build a majority he wants in order to win Ohio."

"They ask ‘Are you registered to vote?' and they ask ‘Where you registered?'" said Katelyn Murray, a Cleveland State University student. Murray traveled with a group of college friends all from Canton and attending CSU.

Another student, Halle Clark, said she registered at a gay Pride parade and since then, she has been inundated with correspondence.

"I do get emails and updates all the time and that makes me feel part of it. Like my vote counts," Clark said.

Celeste Powell, also a student, said she has been seeing the same things on campus.

"They're very interested in making sure they young crowd is registered to vote. They're going to make sure we are aware of the issues," Powell said.

If history is any indicator, there is no rock solid ingredient that makes this campaign work.

Jane Platten, the director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said often college students end up casting their vote from familiar territory.

"Normally a college student is going to return to their home state so they usually vote by mail," Platten said.

So far, about 5,000 people have voted early in Cuyahoga County and Platten said there are 10,000 more registered voters now then there were at this point in 2008. The final day to register to vote is Oct. 9. The board of elections in Cuyahoga County will be open until 9 p.m. that day.

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