Students pursue varied ballot-casting strategies
By Shannon Epps
HAMPTON, Va. – Hampton University student Justin Manning was canvassing and volunteering in hopes of helping Barack Obama win his bid for the White House.
The senior political science major, like some other college students, took advantage of various options that students had when voting.
Instead of going home to Brooklyn, N.Y., to cast his vote on Nov. 4, Manning chose to change his voter registration to his campus address so that he could vote in Virginia, a state that hasn’t chosen a Republican for president since 1964.
“New York is always going to be blue, so why not help a red state?” Manning said.
Manning decided to vote early in Hampton as opposed to going to the polls on Election Day.
Some voters have voiced concern about long lines at the polls. Manning said his experience wasn’t too much of a problem.
“It was my first time voting,” he said. “I didn’t expect the line to be so long, but once I got inside it was organized. I was out in about an hour.”
Mike Livingston, a first-year professional pharmacy student, also switched his registration from his home of Bowie, Md., to his campus address. He had planned to vote absentee, but missed the deadline to request an application.
Unlike Manning, Livingston plans to vote on Tuesday. He’s slightly concerned about long lines at the polls. He plans to vote around 6 a.m., when the polls open, along with a few friends.
“My only concern is that if there’s going to be a long line,” Livingston said. “I hope it’s not early in the morning when I go.”
He said he plans to vote for Barack Obama, and would expect the senator from Illinois to win the election even if he was supporting Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“I don’t think it’s going to be close, but I don’t think it will be a landslide,” Livingston said. “I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle.”
Elliot Croom, a junior electrical engineering major sent an absentee ballot to his home of Birmingham, Ala., two weeks ago in hopes of a victory for Obama in the traditionally Republican state.
“I wanted to vote in Alabama because Alabama is usually red and I think there’s a chance that it could be blue this year, even though it might be relatively small,” he said.
Croom said he initially had reservations about voting absentee, but decided he wanted to try to make a difference in his home state.
He doesn’t expect there to be a lot of problems in the voting process because he thinks precincts are taking the “necessary precautions,” said Croom to prevent any potential complications.
“I think all the poll [officials] will be on their P’s and Q’s,” Croom said. “If they did that always then voting would always go smoothly, but you know you can only ask so much of public service.”
Livingston said that however voters choose to cast their ballots, he hopes they all exercise their right to participate in this historic election.
“For this election in particular, I think it’s very important that everyone go out and vote,” he said. “This election has made the process of voting a very popular and important one so that everyone can share their opinion on how the United States’ future should continue.”
The writer is a junior at the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.