By: Will Kenneally (Reporter) and Vera Rosenbeck (Videographer)

On a Friday evening, College Republicans Ryan Christens and Evan Karabas aren’t doing homework. They’re working on ways to reach out to new voters. 

“There’s 40,000 students here, and there’s a lot of potential to be tapped,” Christens says. “I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive as we go for the next year here.”

A year out from the 2020 presidential election, the College Republicans are working to lay out a ground game in one of the most hotly-contested battle ground states.

“We’re looking at Wisconsin as the do or die state,” says state Democratic Party spokesman Philip Shulman. “We really believe that you have to win the state if you’re going to take back the White House.”

Shulman says their strategy includes tapping into existing networks.

“We found that the best communicators are neighbors talking to neighbors. So we have about 250 of these teams spread out around the state and they’re made up of local Democrats, people who care about their community,” Shulman says. 

On campus, College Republicans face another issue: fewer than 40 percent of students actually voted in 2018 according to a study by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education. 

While sharing their message, they encourage students to register to vote who might not have already. All of this, gearing up for something still a year away.

“In 2020, we know that it’s going to be a real battle and we know that Wisconsin’s one of if not the most important state, so especially here, it’s going to be the center of it,” Kabraras says. 

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