Students vote ‘in force’

By
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

During voting hours yesterday, Brown’s campus had a noticeably different feel.

Excited students congregated on the Main Green, many wearing “I Voted” stickers emblazoned with American flags. The Friedman Study Center in the Sciences Library was empty – unusual for a Tuesday during midterms. And swaths of proud voters toted free cups of Starbucks coffee while walking down Thayer Street.

In the spirit of what many have deemed a historic election day, Brown students and community members registered with addresses on or near campus streamed into the lobby of Salomon Center to vote. Of 545 total voters who filled out ballots, 510 supported President-elect Obama and 20 opted for Sen. John McCain, according to an official tally released last night.

Students interviewed by The Herald overwhelmingly supported Obama.

“In general I agree with democrats,” Divya Samuel ’10 said, as she stepped outside of the Salomon lobby polling place.

Colleen Brogan ’10, another Obama supporter and features editor for post-, The Herald’s weekly arts and culture magazine, said she was in favor of all the Democratic candidates on the ballot.

Brogan said she was surprised at the number of uncontested races for local seats – referring to the races for state senator and representative – but she said she “would’ve voted democratic anyway.”

In general, students reported being satisfied with the voting experience.

Voting was “pretty simple … (though) the ballot was pretty confusing,” Samuel said.

Ricky Fortunato ’09, an Obama supporter from New Jersey, said he voted absentee, because he is affected more by the politics in his home state.

His favorite part of the voting experience, he said, was “licking the envelope.”

Lorraine Spiver, a polling official from Johnston at work at work in the lobby of Salomon yesterday, said the polling place was well-organized and busy.

Students came to vote “in force,” most frequently between class periods, she said.

Zachary Marcus ’10, who also worked as a polling official in Salomon, volunteered to help in Salomon during the presidential primary in March and the local Democratic primary in September, where he said only 15 to 25 people voted.

“It’s exciting to see so many people vote,” Marcus said, adding that the turnout was not surprising.

“Today’s been pretty smooth,” he said.

Still, the polling workers, like voters, were not immune to the enthusiasm of the election.

“A group of students were outside (Salomon), applauding people who came out,” Spiver said. “They had the front of the building circled. It was unreal.”

– Additional reporting by Colin Chazen and Isabel Gottlieb

Click here to view “Main Green jubilance: A post-election slideshow”