Election Day: Transportation to Polls Provided and March on the Polls Organized

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Colgate students created posters and marched to the polls to raise awareness for the importance of voting in Tuesday’s midterm elections and increase voter turnout. 

Emily Rahhal, News Editor

Members of the Colgate and Hamilton communities worked to increase awareness of the importance of voting in the midterm elections on Tuesday, November 6 by providing transportation to voting polls and organizing a march to the polls.

The midterm elections occur every two years and include voting for the U.S. Congress, governorships and state-wide races. The Telegraph reported that this midterm election was particularly important because it provided Democrats their first opportunity since Trump’s election to gain some control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which at the time of this writing were controlled by Republicans. Up for grabs this election were 35 of the 100 Senate seats and all of the House of Representative seats.

The Colgate Vote Project, which is a non-partisan, faculty-mentored student group of more than 200 students, provided a free round trip van service that departed from Curtis Hall every hour on the hour to the polls at the Hamilton Public Library. The group also helped voters register and provided absentee ballots; Colgate University News reported that the group helped register 61 voters and helped provide 74 voters with their absentee ballots as of November 1.

“We strive to create a population of engaged student voters at Colgate by streamlining the registration and voting process. Regardless of party affiliation, current political engagement, or voting eligibility, the project aims to support all students and create an on-campus environment that encourages political awareness and voter participation,” the Colgate Vote Project description reads.

Additionally, groups such as Democracy Matters, College Democrats, College Republicans and the Student Government Association (SGA) organized a March On the Polls which started at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Participants met at the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) to make signs, then marched through campus to the Village Green. March on the Polls is a movement aimed to make voting a less daunting and individual process through a community experience.

Individual groups across the nation have submitted their events online to the March On the Polls organizers, whose website provides a map to find the nearest March On the Polls.

“March on the Polls is a national movement to get students out to the polls and spread the importance of voting. SGA and Democracy Matters are hoping that everyone will come out and feel the difference that they are making through a unified effort with other students,” sophomore Shelley Liu said.

Individual community members also made efforts to increase voter participation. Hamilton local Leslie Green Guilbalt offered on the app Next Door, a local message board, to drive people up to 15 miles from Hamilton to a polling location.

“I will not ask you who you will vote for, nor will I attempt to sway your opinion. I am offering this as a public service because we live in a rural area where there is no public transportation, and I value our right to vote,” Guilbalt wrote in her post.

The Department of Political Science, Office of the President, the Division of Social Sciences and the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty also held a Post-Election Happy Hour on Wednesday, November 7.

Contact Emily Rahhal at [email protected]