SU students, poll workers reflect on Election Day events
After four and a half hours, Ashley Legitime was finally able to cast her vote Tuesday.
Legitime, a Syracuse University sophomore public relations and French major, said she arrived at the Schine Student Center at 3:30 p.m., but was told she wasn’t registered to vote there. She was directed to the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle, and after one wrong location and a long search, finally punched her ballot at around 8 p.m.
‘They told me I was supposed to have a card that told me where to go vote,’ she said.
But she said she never got that card and assumed, as a Syracuse University student, she could vote at Schine.
Legitime was one of 920 people who voted at St. Andrew’s Tuesday. This represented nearly 48 percent of the 1,924 people registered to vote by machine there, said poll officials. An additional 43 voted by paper.
The scene was a little different at Schine, where poll officials reported that 196 ballots were cast by machine and 43 by paper, representing a small portion of the 1,500 registered to vote there.
‘There are 10,000 students that could have walked here in a minute and a half and they don’t vote,’ said Scott Cristfoly, a poll watcher at Schine.
By early afternoon, voting at St. Andrew’s was fairly slow, said Tim Redding, a poll volunteer. Typically, he said, the busiest voting hours are in the morning, at noon and during rush hour.
But that didn’t prevent election workers from being impressed by voters’ participation.
‘We are amazed that the turnout has been this high (so far),’ said Menzo King, a poll worker, at 2:30 p.m.
However, poll workers said many voters at St. Andrew’s complained about being unable to find their proper voting station. Tom Burgess, a poll worker for District 1903, said the number of affidavits, or paper ballets, was also unusually high, though the polling was smooth overall.
It was important for students to vote in this election because policy-makers are responsible for decisions that affect them, such as tuition, said Tom Hackman, a junior political science and policy studies major and New York Public Interest Research Group volunteer.
‘Students are not heard that loudly,’ he said.
Norm Keim, an elections inspector for Onondaga County, said between 80 and 90 percent of the voters who turned out at Schine were students; the other 10 to 20 percent were faculty or local residents.
Throughout the day, students trickled in and out of the atrium of Goldstein Auditorium, citing education, the environment and a change in the status quo, among others, as reasons for coming out to vote.
‘The legislation passed in the last four years does not support the average family, and … I don’t agree with it,’ said Zebadiah Keneally, a junior print making major. ‘It is my duty to participate in the democratic election.’
Keneally said issues such as fair wages, universal health care and equal education opportunities made him vote for working-party candidates such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Dan Maffei, Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives.
Tom Smith, a sophomore environmental forest biology major, said he voted for Elliot Spitzer (D) for governor, Jim Walsh (R) for the House, Dave Valesky (D) for Senate and Jeanine Pirro (R) for attorney general. Smith said he liked Spitzer because of his stance on the issues, especially the environment, and voted for the other three candidates based on their ethics.
‘I went online and researched as much as possible,’ he said.
Though many other students said they didn’t know much about the candidates, they still felt it was important to cast their votes.
‘I don’t know enough, which is my fault,’ said Megan Sass, a junior acting major who said she voted the straight Democratic ticket. ‘I wish the university supplied more information.’
Vicki Turakhia, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she didn’t do her research for this election – so she decided to vote for the Democratic and Independent parties.
Robert Dill, a freshman mechanical engineering major who voted mainly for Socialist candidates, said most of the information he saw about candidates was slander from one side toward the other.
‘There should be open debates with full-blown discussions between all running candidates,’ he said.
Redding, the poll worker, said that it’s important for students to vote because now, more than ever, there’s a lot of apathy in the country.
‘In the long run, it’s essential (for a democracy),’ he said.
PHILADELPHIA — Syracuse exposed its Achilles' heel one too many times. The one true weakness — faceoffs — on what was otherwise the country's most… Read more »
UPDATED: June 13, 2013 at 11:01 a.m. Salaries and pay increases vary widely among colleges, schools and departments at Syracuse University. That’s what the SU… Read more »
In a unanimous vote, the Common Council approved a last-minute amendment on Monday to exempt The Sound Garden from restrictions targeted toward pawn shops. The… Read more »