For two months, students have been preparing for Election Day by canvassing, phone banking, and raising support for their chosen political candidate. On Tuesday, with the rest of the nation, many students’ eyes were glued to news stations to watch, with baited breath, for the results of the presidential election and local elections.
“The night went really well,” said Lucy Livesay ‘14. “It was exciting and good to be around the youthful energy and people who were educated and cared about the issues.”
Students from the campus group Carleton Democrats (CarlDems) and Minnesotans United for All Families volunteered to go around dorms and common student areas, like the Library and Sayles, to make sure that everyone had voted.
If someone wasn’t wearing a sticker that said “I Voted”, the volunteers would ask if they had voted, and if not, would tell them to head to the United Church of Christ, near the Weitz Center, to cast their ballot.
“Our groups were really focused on making sure that everyone was educated about the voting process and made sure that everyone who could vote, did so,” said Dan Antoszyk ‘13, one of the co-presidents of CarlDems.
“We are so proud of many of our volunteers who came in to help; at Carleton, we had over 200 more people vote for the State senate and house than at the Olaf, even though they have 1,000 more students.
“It’s really important [to vote]; for example, candidate Kevin Dahle is only ahead by 80 votes and now there will be a recount. Every vote matters.”
To mark progress, students got stickers on their door that verified that they had voted earlier that day, in addition to wearing the “I Voted” stickers.
“Election Day was completely chaotic,” explained Russel Peterson ’15, a volunteer for Minnesotans United. “I volunteered from around noon to eight at night, running across campus trying to get students to the polls. My duties included standing outside the UCC, cheering on people who voted no and giving them stickers; directing people to their polling place and making sure they have the correct ID; maintaining the MN United table in Sayles; and door knocking in the dorms to encourage people to vote.”
Beyond the national elections, students were invested in two amendments on the Minnesota ballot.
The first amendment would have banned same-sex marriage and the second would have required people to present state administered photo identification to vote, making it very difficult for students from out of state to vote in Minnesota elections.
Thanks to many demonstrations by college students and increasing support of the movements to “Vote No Twice”, both amendments failed to pass much to the relief of many.
“I’ve been passionately against the amendment since it was placed on the ballot by the Minnesota Legislature way back in May of 2011,” Peterson said.
“When the amendment was finally projected to be defeated at around 2am, I was so happy! I cheered with my friends as we all cried tears of joy. I felt so validated that my hard work paid off and so proud that I live in the first state to reject this discriminatory amendment when 31 states before followed through with it.”
Many tracked the election results with devoted intensity. Televisions and laptops around campus were tuned into the live coverage of the Presidential race, tracking each electoral vote as it came in.
Lots of students congregated in Olin 149 and Upper Sayles to watch the results. When the news that President Obama was re-elected, Olin 149 erupted in cheers and claps, immediately followed by a dance party and streakers.
“I was really happy when we found out that Obama won,” remarked Livesay, who watched the election in Olin. “I cried a little bit. And then we danced.”
Regardless of political opinion, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief since the stress and events of Election Season is finally over.
Ads will no longer plague TVs, students will not have candidates flyers stuck in their mailbox, and no more questions will be asked about who voted for who.
“I am glad the whole thing is over,” said Zachary Lynn ‘14. “The president can now get back to being the president instead of campaigning. That is a good thing.”