The midterm elections on Tuesday, November 6, have no doubt been a topic floating around campus and have been for the few previous months leading up to this talked about event.
Many student organizations and student leaders on campus have hosted events encouraging members of the Gustavus community to vote and make their opinions and voices heard.
Gustavus has a campus coordinator for these midterm elections who is the head of the initiative to raise the number of student voters.
“I’m the campus coordinator for the midterm elections, which means that I am officially employed by the DFL to work on youth voter turnout. Since the second week of this semester, I’ve been door knocking, tabling, and texting students with my volunteers on a weekly basis,” sophomore and campus coordinator for midterm elections, Amanda Braun, said.
The Gustavus Adolphus College Democrats have also tabled and hosted events in order to promote voting amongst the student body.
“These events are important because youth have the capability of changing the face of our elections. We represent a new era of thoughts, morals, and experiences which mold our political ideology,” Braun said.
“Plus, we’ve lived our entire lives being told that our votes will never matter. In St. Peter, however, this is by far not the case. We have the ability to make or break elections here. Might as well do it,” Braun said.
One student organization that has been active in this regard is the College Republicans.
This organization has hosted many events including tabling and offered a viewing of the election returns on Tuesday night.
“The College Republicans are holding and election event in the Board Room all of Tuesday night where people can come and go while watching the election returns. We did this in 2016, and it was pretty popular, so we are doing it again. We’ll also be having some refreshments for those who come earlier in the night too,” Senior and College Republicans Risk Manager, Nathan Dull, said.
This student organization has done other events in the past, including bringing actual local candidates to the Gustavus campus.
“The College Republicans have, historically, brought Republican candidates to campus to promote their policy stances and initiatives. In doing so, we try to make it appealing to the community by offering the conversation with root beer floats or other enticing snacks,” Dull said.
“We also try to engage with the St. Peter community by canvassing for the Republican candidates in the area. Moreover, we have been involved with the College Democrats hosting debates between each other and co-hosting presidential debate viewing parties,” Dull said.
Voting is being encouraged by many at Gustavus.
The importance of this action is being highlighted by numerous students.
“Voting is important because everyone wields the power to change what they want to see. Whether it be for politicians, referendums, constitutional amendments, etc., everyone’s voice matters. One vote can change the entire direction of one’s country, state, county, and city,” Dull said.
Braun echoed the importance of voting: “Voting is important because voting was not granted to all people until 1965. Voting is important because, in some states, Native Americans are being disenfranchised due to their addresses.”
“Voting is important because there are still polling locations that are inaccessible to those with disabilities. We vote for those who can’t. We vote because there are injustices in this world and we cannot change them unless we try,” Braun said.
The importance of voting, making your voice heard and standing up for what you believe in is encouraged at Gustavus.
“Political activism is talking to your friends about the difficult things, it’s bringing snacks to volunteer events and writing thank you notes. It’s the people who emailed me and asked me to help them engage in conversation with their peers. Political activism takes a lot of emotional energy, but it’s important to do what’s best for you. We all can do better when we’re at our best,” Braun said.
Both Minnesota Senate seats were won by Democratic candidates Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn narrowly came ahead in district 1, where Gustavus is located.
Tim Walz, the last representative for district 1, won the state governership by another wide margin.
Ilhan Omar made history by being elected as the first Muslim woman into any chamber of Congress by District 5.