The vote starts here

After her husband lost the controversial 2000 presidential election, Hadassah Lieberman is convinced the phrase “every vote counts” is more than a catchphrase.

Lieberman’s husband, Joseph, has his sights set on the Democratic nomination for the presidential election next year after running for vice president alongside Al Gore three years ago. His wife was at USF on Tuesday in an effort to encourage students to register to vote. The visit was a part of the Democratic party’s “Donkeys Rock Tour,” which travels across Florida promoting voter registration and awareness among students.

The name of the tour refers to the party’s emblem.

“I have always been concerned about (youth voting),” Lieberman said. “But going through the Florida experience made me realize … how every vote counts. We have to educate people all over the country, but particularly our young.”

Lieberman said the education of young voters is necessary because they don’t give politics much thought.

“A lot of kids don’t think about it,” she said. “They sort of walk through their courses … (without focus) on voting or on politics. But it’s past the point in time that we all need to become more sensitive because we actually vote for leadership in this country, which is incredibly dramatic and has an impact on the rest of the world.”

In addition to increasing voter awareness, Lieberman was campaigning on behalf of her husband. Lieberman’s loss came after a most controversial election that lead to recounting of ballots in Florida and a Supreme Court ruling to decide George W. Bush as the winner. With the experience behind Lieberman, his wife says he can now learn — and possibly benefit — from it.

“We are counting on winning Florida (should he win the party nomination),” she said. “Every family member will be down here (campaigning). I think (Joseph) is coming (to Florida) in a week or two also.”

But not all the participants in the registration process Tuesday agreed with Lieberman’s generalization of students.

“I don’t know why anyone would be persuaded to vote for a candidate because his wife gave him a little button to wear on their shirt,” junior Sara Lachman said. “I hope the people who are registering for the first time today aren’t planning on voting without looking into what the candidates stand for and believe in.”

However, while Lieberman may not be trying to capture votes right now, she has at least made some students aware of her husband’s candidacy.

“I don’t think people will vote for him just because his wife was here,” sophomore Dana Wilkes said. “People aren’t that stupid, I don’t think. I at least appreciate her thinking of students. I may vote for Lieberman, I may not. But I’m closer to voting for him now than I was before.”