In the 2012 election, people in the 18-29-year-old age range contributed in a significant way to the re-election of President Barack Obama. According to a report by NBC, 59 percent of the demographic voted for the Democratic candidate.
For many students at Saint Louis University, the 2012 election was the first time they had voted for a president. How the majority of SLU students voted has not yet been reported, but many made an effort to get out and cast their vote.
To make voting more convenient for SLU students who were registered to vote in Missouri, a polling place was set up in the Saint Louis Room on the third floor of the Busch Student Center.
This is the second presidential election for which the BSC polling place has been open. The location was previously available for the 2008 election and catered to approximately 1,000 students
Students who registered to vote this year using their SLU mail box address were automatically set up to vote in the BSC polling place. The polling place opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m.
“This was my first time voting in the presidential election and I voted in the BSC,” Daniel Pike, junior, said. “It was super easy and only took about 10 minutes, tops.”
Over the course of the semester, there were also several different efforts to register students at SLU. The political party groups at SLU worked to register students and there was a registration initiative by the Student Government Association.
“I say big snaps to the student effort led by Matt Ryan and in coordination with Blake Exline that 500 students registered to vote through all of the student opportunities made available on campus,” Dean of Students Mona Hicks said. “Civic learning and democratic engagement gets at the heart of our Jesuit, Catholic mission, as well as our shared future in our diverse communities depend on a more informed, engaged and globally responsible citizenry.”
When it came to deciding how to vote, many students voted based on their own, personal values. Junior Aroona Toor supported Obama because of her concern for health care related issues.
“I’m a public health major, and I really think we need the Affordable Care Act to move forward,” Toor said.
Senior Adam Noel stated he voted the way he did after following the discourse of the candidates throughout the duration of the campaign.
“I followed the statements from the presidential candidates,” Noel said. “Romney never seemed to take one side for too long before he was on the other side. I knew at least where Obama stood.”
Pike, however, wrote in a candidate for president because he felt the current trend in both political parties was not the best course.
“I believe the conservatives have a better financial plan, but I wanted someone who was also liberal on social issues,” Pike said. “I also don’t like recent trends like denying global warming and some of the religious tendencies.”
To encourage students to get out to vote, establishments around SLU offered deals to students who presented their “I voted sticker.” Pickleman’s Gourmet Café gave out free cookies, while Salsarita’s, located in SLU’s Billiken Club, gave out free chips and salsa.
After the polls closed, a “bipartisan” watch party was held for students in the Billiken Club. The Black Student Alliance also hosted a watch party at the Flats at Three Seven Four.
Not all students could escape their studies to follow the election night coverage, however.
Junior Kara Morrall stated that she was a little disappointed that she could not follow the results more closely.
“I did an absentee ballot, but I haven’t been paying attention to the current coverage because I had an exam and a video project due today, and now I have to do some work for the organizations I’m involved [in],” Morrall said. “As happy as I am to be involved in and vote in this election, it’s upsetting that I can’t participate in the hoopla of it all.”