By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief
In case you haven’t heard, it’s election season. For most students on campus, this will be the first opportunity to cast a ballot for the next president of the United States of America. But will they do it?
Historically, the Tri-College has had a less-than-stellar voting record. In the last presidential election, only 35% of Swarthmore students voted. According to Haverford College President Kim Benston, low student turnout is the result of a number of factors, including a general lack of understanding as to how important each student’s vote will be.
“As you get older, … and you start to realize your relationship to the taxation system, your relationship to the public infrastructure … you get a keener sense of how the political world affects that,” Benston told The Bi-College News.
At the same time, there are physical obstacles outside of students’ control.
“Students… have had their voting rights suppressed, to some extent,” Benston added. “Now, there’s as many of you as in my neighborhood, but I have a polling place that I can walk to and you don’t, so what’s that about? To me, that’s a political problem … It has not been made as easy for students, actually, as it could be.”
This year, however, there’s no excuse. Special Assistant to the President Franklyn Cantor has been organizing nonstop to ensure students can make it to the polls.
“The last two [voting] cycles have relied pretty heavily on students to get folks to the polls,” said Cantor. But this year, faculty and staff will be driving to ensure a constant flow of transportation, making the trip as convenient as possible.
“It’s a five-minute ride to the polls,” Cantor stressed. “We’re going to make sure folks have a chance to get there … I hope that we’ll have improved turn out, I really do.”
He’s not the only one interested in seeing an increased student turnout.
“I will be very interested to see what happens in this election,” said Benston. “This is honestly the most consequential election I’ve ever lived through. So if Haverford students don’t vote, I’ll be very, very saddened by that … It’s your world that’s going to be affected.”
It’s not just administrators who are working to get the vote out. Students have been tabling in Haverford’s Dining Center for weeks to register voters, and there have been a number of efforts to increase awareness throughout the election season.
Now that the campaigns are finally coming to a close, the only thing left to do is cast your ballot!