Across the country, College-aged people voted in record numbers. However, many at the College feel that many students here did not participate in the midterm elections that took place on Nov. 7.
In the election, Democrat Robert Menendez defeated Republican challenger Tom Kean for a seat in the Senate. For the House of Representatives, Republican Jim Saxton won in the third district, Republican Christopher Smith won in the fourth district, Republican Mike Ferguson won in the seventh district and Democrat Rush Holt won in the 12th district.
According to Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization “dedicated to building political power for young people,” 13 percent of voters on Nov. 7 were between the ages of 18 to 29. This represents a 20 percent increase in young voter turnout over the 2002 midterm elections, Rock the Vote’s Web site said.
However, some believe that students at the College may have had relatively little to do with the increase.
“I would say this campus is very apathetic,” Matthew Civiletti, treasurer of the College Democrats, said.
Civiletti added, however, that he believed “more young people voted than usual.”
“Kean and Menendez were both pretty terrible candidates,” Chris Geddis, one of the presidents of the College Libertarians, said. This, Geddis said, may have been a factor in why some students did not vote.
“I understand why someone would fail to vote. We were given two terrible choices,” he said.
Geddis added that a third party candidate could have been an option for voters, but for many students, it may have been difficult to get home at all to vote.
Dan Beckelman, who was a Democrat last year but is now the treasurer of the College Republicans, does believe that many students voted.
“I think many students voted, and frankly and unequivocally, those who were able to and didn’t should think twice before not exerting their voice again,” Beckelman said.
Beckelman praised the College Republicans for their involvment in the election campaigns of Ewing Republicans Jack Ball, Faye Ball and Don Cox and said part of the reason Jack Ball and Cox won their races may have been due to student efforts.
Both the College Democrats and Republicans dealt with setbacks that may have prevented them from encouraging students on campus to vote.
Terence Grado, chairman of the College Republicans, said that while members of his organization were able to participate in off campus efforts to reach voters, they did not specifically target students on campus.
Grado said members of the College Republicans participated in the campaigns of Ewing Republicans Ball and Cox as well as Kean. Part of the effort, according to Grado, included going door-to-door in Ewing and distributing literature regarding the Ewing candidates.
“If it weren’t for college kids like . the College Republicans, a lot of that vital grassroots work wouldn’t have been done,” Grado said.
According to Scott Blair, president of the College Democrats, members from his group also participated in election campaigns.
Though Blair said the club has been inactive for most of the year, he said he worked for the Menendez campaign.
Blair estimated that less than half of College students voted Tuesday. “My guess would be that a lot of students didn’t go out and vote,” Blair said.
Many who did vote felt the election sent a message to President Bush and the Republican party.
“The election was a referendum on the war. The public opinion was clear, they aren’t satisfied with the war,” Tom Sales, member of the College Republicans, said.
However, Sales is not confident that the Democrats will be successful now that they have taken over.
“The Democratic party has a very narrow majority and no real agenda besides indicting and mocking the president,” Sales said.