Political Fever Sweeps Campus

    As of press time, Obama had taken 349 electoral votes while McCain received 163. (Photo Illustration by David Winterhalter & Erik Jepsen/Guardian)

    National exit polls suggest that between 21.6 and 23.9 million voters between the ages of 18 and 25 participated in the election, compared to 2.2 million in 2004. The San Diego County Registrar’s Office estimated that 5,000 ballots were cast at on-campus polling stations.

    Political science professor Thad Kousser said Obama’s age, background and message of change made him more appealing to young voters than any previous presidential candidate.

    “We see this huge increase in youth registration and turnout because we have this candidate who is clearly different,” he said. “[Obama] is closer in age and appeals to the younger demographic. His positions may be similar to others, but he looks different and talks different.”

    Kousser added that the McCain campaign’s use of Facebook and other popular media outlets also accounted for the spike in youth interest.

    Poll clerks at the Revelle College voting booth in the Why Not Here? Lounge said students began lining up 15 minutes before the scheduled 7 a.m. opening. By midafternoon, all of 380 English ballots had been administered, so clerks resorted to using Spanish, Filipino and Vietnamese ballots with English translations.

    Raz Autman, a touchscreen inspector stationed on campus, said students seemed more eager to vote than they did in past elections, rushing to vote between classes and patiently waiting in line despite the rain.

    “The students seemed more dedicated, geared in, focused — very willing and very concerned about today’s society,” he said. “They want change.”

    Students at Great Hall celebrate upon the announcement of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s victory against Republican candidate Sen. John McCain. (Eric Wang/Guardian)

    Other items of chief concern on the ballot included California Proposition 4, which would have delayed abortions for unemancipated minors until 48 hours after parental notification by a physician; California Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriage; and San Diego County Proposition D, which bans alcohol on San Diego beaches.

    Students protested both propositions on Library Walk in the weeks leading up to the election.

    Revelle College freshman Josh King was among a group of students on Library Walk holding anti-Proposition 8 signs as voters approached the Price Center polling location.

    “Now that I am 18, I can take my political views to action,” he said. “I think this election is a historic election both in terms of national and state politics. Both the candidates were claiming to be agents of change and I wanted to impact this change.”

    Student activists demonstrate in support of Proposition 4 at Price Center Nov. 4. (Richard Choi/Guardian)

    The San Diego Registrar reported 2,328 ballots cast in San Diego County, with 53.18 percent supporting Obama, 44.51 percent supporting McCain and 1.64 percent supporting third-party candidates. Precinct-specific data breaking down candidate support by voter demographic will not be released until 30 days after the election.

    For the first time ever, the A.S. Council worked with the city registrar to ensure efficiency and alleviate long lines. Councilmembers watched the polls throughout Election Day to answer questions and ensure that no registered voters were turned away.

    As the votes were tallied, students gathered at various on-campus locations — including Great Hall, the Loft and Porter’s Pub — to watch a televised broadcast of the election results.

    Proposition 8 sparked protest on Library Walk. (Jimmy Kan/Guardian)
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