Swarthmore Students Turn Out for Voting Day

by Tiffany Wang

On a chilly morning on November 7th, 2017 at Swarthmore-Rutledge School, a steady trickle of voters entered the auditorium, disappearing behind the curtains of the voting booth to vote in local races. Others headed to the CADES building and Swarthmore Public Library, all choosing their candidates for Delaware County Council, Judge of the Superior Court, and the Swarthmore Borough Council, among a total of 11 races. They also voted on the Homestead Exclusion Amendment, a measure that would allow local governments to choose to eliminate property taxes.

 

Voters head to the polls at Swarthmore-Rutledge School

Voters head to the polls at Swarthmore-Rutledge School

 

While not a nationally galvanizing election, Swarthmore residents seemed to understand the importance of voting on local issues. In preparation for election day, the Swarthmore College Democrats collaborated with the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility to rent vans to take students to their polling locations and to hire two food trucks, Plum Pit Bistro & Catering and The Sweetest Rose Cupcake Company to encourage students to vote.

For some, this election was the first time they were eligible to vote, and they made sure not to waste this opportunity. As Lauryn Smith 21’ said, “I’m not into a lot of political stuff so seeing all the people and issues was cool. It was interesting to go and see how I could impact everything. It makes me want to do some more research and stay more aware of all the issues happening in local places and big elections.”

Others have become pros at voting at Swarthmore. Bret Serbin ‘18 recalled in 2015 when State Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky was elected during a special election, largely due to the activism of Swarthmore students. “Local politics is the most viable way to affect change. Krueger-Braneky is a really cool local female politician that we helped to elect and re-elect.”

All day, students urged their friends to go out and vote, posting reminders on Facebook and sometimes even offering to accompany others down to the polls. Even the afternoon rain didn’t stop Swarthmore students from voting - students could be seen in Sharples proudly showing off their “I Voted” stickers. According to some election officials, this was the highest voter turnout for an off-year election they’ve seen in years. With elections with more far-reaching consequences coming up in 2018, continued interest in voting will be crucial to ensuring our voices are heard.

You can find election results here.