Student Reactions to the Unprecedented Midterm Elections

Henry Claudy, Maroon-News Staff

Midterm elections spurred many students at Colgate into taking action on campus and reconsidering their voting options.

On Tuesday, November 6, United States citizens lined up outside their voting locations to decide the outcomes of gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races. The midterm elections gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to gain control of the key positions within state and federal governments held by Republican politicians.

The Associated Press reported that the Democratic Party won 225 seats in the House of Representatives, while the Republican Party won 197 seats. Now holding 51.7 percent of the seats, Democrats wrestled control of the House after the Republican domination of the 115th United States

Congress. The Associated Press also reported that the Republican Party maintained control of the Senate, holding 51 seats over the Democrats’ 44 seats. The elections were labeled as a success for the Democratic Party.

In advance of Election Day, many students found themselves deciding between switching their voting registration to the Hamilton area or sending absentee ballots back home.

Some students found it easier to register to vote in Madison County, effectively severing their voice within their home state and instead expressing their beliefs in the 22nd Congressional district.

This option to choose where to vote as a college student created an interesting dilemma for voters who needed to weigh where their votes would be most important. Junior Grant Morro elaborated on his decision.

“I voted as an absentee in Connecticut. I didn’t want to vote here in the 22nd district [because] I didn’t want to affect the the representatives for the residents of this district, as I don’t see myself as a true resident of Hamilton,” Morro said.

The absentee ballot process allows state residents to vote from other states or countries with a mail-in ballot, but many find this process confusing and frustrating. Sophomore Abigail Kelly discussed her experience with the absentee ballot.

“Texas doesn’t want young people to vote. They didn’t send me my absentee ballot in time even though I sent in the application two months in advance.,” Kelly said.

Despite the difficulties of voting out-of-state, students were politically active all over campus. Students were seen campaigning for local officials, organizing marches to get others excited about voting and organizing transportation from campus to local polls, like the Student Government Association and Democracy Matters co-organized March on the Polls.

Sophomore Nathan Sterne shared his perspective on political interest on campus.

“While the political divide seems to be ever growing, it was clear on campus that everyone was interested and invested in this election. It was really the first time that I have ever seen my peers genuinely push for policy change at both a state and national level,” Sterne said.

Many of the races are still too close to call. The Washington Post reported that two gubernatorial races, two senatorial races and ten congressional races are still undecided, leaving the public to wait for final tallies.

One of these key races was the New York 22nd Congressional district between incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney and Democrat challenger Anthony Brindisi.

The current tally shows Brindisi winning the seat by only 1293 votes, and Congresswoman Tenney has decided to not concede. Tenney released a statement on her official Facebook Page.

“This race remains too close to call. This race will be decided when all the votes have been counted, and we will continue to work with our legal team and the electoral boards in each county to ensure the votes are counted accurately and fairly,” Tenney said.

Junior Cal Slavitt reflected on his experience with the midterm elections. “I was excited overall by the election

results. I went from living in two districts with Republican congressmen, to two with Democrats, so I was able to witness substantial political change at home and at school,” Slavitt said.

Sophomore Shannon Duffy said that she was surprised by the results given her experience living in Vermont.

“One reaction I had was surprise at how many challengers beat incumbents. Coming from Vermont, a state where incumbents never lose, it’s hopeful to see a new crop of politicians rather than keeping the same people in office for decades. These results were unexpected in a good way,” Duffy said.

Contact Henry Claudy at [email protected]