Students vote in Super Tuesday elections

W&L’s College Democrats organized rides to the polls for students to vote

Sutton Travis

Twelve states, including Virginia, held nominating elections for the Republican and Democratic parties on Tuesday. This day is typically referred to as Super Tuesday, because it is when the greatest number of states hold primary elections.

According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump won Virginia’s Republican nomination with 34.7 percent of the Republican party’s votes and Hillary Clinton won Virginia’s Democratic nomination with 64.3 percent of the Democratic party’s votes.

Kayla Sylvester, ‘17, is the president of Washington and Lee’s College Democrats and organized rides to the polls for students registered to vote in Virginia.

“We did a voter registration drive in the fall, and we wanted to offer those people a chance to vote,” Sylvester said. “We were making it more accessible to students who wanted to vote, especially if this was their first election or first primary opportunity.”

The rides were available to all students, regardless of party affiliation.

“We didn’t ask them what party they were for,” Sylvester said. “It didn’t matter. It was really about providing avenues for people.”

Nine students arrived at the polls via Sylvester’s rides, including Megan Doherty, ‘19. Doherty is from Morristown, Tenn., but she registered to vote in Virginia.

“Virginia is way more of a swing state, and Tennessee always goes red, so I figured that my vote wouldn’t really count for as much [in Tennessee],” Doherty said.

Doherty said she understands the importance of voting, particularly in this year’s election.

“I think the two Democratic candidates are really interesting,” Doherty said. “And I know that sometimes the votes have been really close in some other states, so I thought that actually going and voting was worth it and was going to make a difference.”

The voting process took Doherty about 15 to 20 minutes, but she said the time would have been shorter if two of the voting machines had not broken earlier in the day.

Sylvester said she thinks more than just long lines keep many millennials from exercising their right to vote.

“I think it’s a motivation issue, and people are also kind of annoyed by the process,” Sylvester said. “I think it’s that apathetic vibe that our whole generation, our age group, gives off, even though we are more active than we think.”

One of College Democrats’ goals for the future is to inform more students about how they can participate in the election process.

“It’s not hard to get involved, and there are plenty of people who know less than you, especially as a college student and somebody who’s around an environment like a college campus,” Sylvester said. “That’s what we’re trying to do with College Democrats this year: get people involved, no matter what side they’re on. I think that voting is a duty of being a citizen.”

The next series of primaries will be held March 8. Hawaii and Idaho will select their Republican nominees, and Michigan and Mississippi will nominate for both parties.