Penn Democrats certainly have reason to celebrate.
Their members packed the Crave inside Rave Motion Pictures Tuesday night, waiting for CNN to call the election. At 11:18 p.m., when CNN predicted Obama would win Ohio, the room erupted in “Call it!” chants, shortly followed by “Four more years!”
“When I found out we won Pennsylvania, I knew I would be able to sleep,” College junior and Penn Dems President Andrew Brown said. “But when I found out Obama won re-election, I knew I could sleep easy.”
Members of College Republicans understandably had a different response to the results. College junior and College Republicans Vice President Arielle Klepach said, “I think it’s safe to say we’re devastated.”
But she held on to hope for the next four years. “It’s not filibuster-proof,” referring to Republicans holding off a Democratic super majority in the Senate. “Obama’s just not going to get anything done. I don’t think the Republicans are going to compromise, and I don’t want my party to compromise.”
Other members of College Republicans were more optimistic about compromise during the president’s second term.
“I hope there can be bipartisanship now,” said Political Director and College sophomore Anthony Cruz. “The American people are not happy with the status quo, and I hope there can be more compromise in Congress.”
Penn Dems saw Obama’s re-election as a product of their hard work campaigning on campus and in Philadelphia.
Volunteer coordinator and College senior Stephen Fritz said, “It’s gratifying because we put in so much effort since last spring, over the summer and throughout the semester. It makes it so much sweeter.”
That work continued to the very last minute, as several political groups spent most of Election Day getting out the vote and the night eagerly watching the results.
Brown and the rest of the Penn Dems board woke up early to go to polling locations. As soon as they heard of the unprecedented number of provisional ballots being filed, the board worked with the Obama campaign to make sure the issue was managed properly.
They set up an email account for students to send their registration issues and also planned to use this as evidence in the case of a Pennsylvania recount.
College Republicans followed a more low-key approach. They handed out signs and encouraged people to vote for Mitt Romney, but “without a full extent operation,” Cruz said. They also did not host a watch party.
Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Penn Leads the Vote dedicated itself to get-out-the-vote efforts.They held a “war room” from 4:30 p.m to 7:50 p.m. where members and other student volunteers called registered voters who had not yet voted using a PLTV-compiled list with data from poll watchers.
Around 30 students strategized throughout the session around a large conference table in Fox Leadership Hall. 2009 College graduate and 2010 Graduate School of Education graduate AJ Schiera spent his 25th birthday announcing names at the front of the room. Enthusiastic volunteers then claimed potential voters to call.
Undergraduate Assembly President and College junior Dan Bernick, who was helping PLTV make calls, attributed the high voter turnout to Penn students’ enthusiasm for this election.
“It’s reflective of Penn students,” he said. “We take initiative and we’re responsible for our right to vote.”