Few students vote in Pennsylvania primary More people entered Irvine Auditorium to hear an organ recital yesterday than to vote in Pennsylvania's primary elections. In the Republican presidential primary, Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) led with 65 percent of the vote over Pat Buchanan, who had 17 percent of the vote. Steve Forbes took eight percent, Alan Keyes won six percent and Richard Lugar had four percent of the vote. In the Democratic presidential primary, President Bill Clinton won with 92 percent of the vote over Lyndon LaRouche, who had only eight percent. But fewer than 50 people -- mostly adults and members of the 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee -- voted at neighborhood polling places in yesterday's elections. Wharton junior Adam Cooper, who assisted at Irvine, said volunteers were manning the polls from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. "We're averaging one student every four hours," he said at around 4 p.m. College junior Jeff Pokras, a committee person for the 27th ward, said the low voter turnout was not a surprise. Pokras attributed the turnout to apathy among students, adding that primary elections do not normally attract many voters. Plus, primary elections in Pennsylvania are usually held after classes end. "Even if the primary election was publicized better, the voter turnout would still be comparably low," Pokras said. "The hype about the presidential elections has died down already," he added. "Many offices that are up for election – such as state treasurer – are not well-known among students." In the Democratic primary for state treasurer, Mina Baker Knoll won with 63 percent of the vote. College Republicans Chairperson Anthony Andreoli said the apathy did not come as a surprise. "Even during the November mayoral election, turnout was low," the Wharton junior said. He added that he did not expect this pattern to change for the presidential balloting this fall. "I don't even think that turnout will be high for the general elections, because many students vote in their home states," he said. In an attempt to increase election participation and minimize confusion, the 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee proposed centralized voting on campus by allowing every registered voter -- except some students living west of 40th Street -- to cast ballots at Irvine Auditorium. City commissioners approved the plan two weeks ago. The consolidated voting location accepts voters from five of the ward's 23 divisions -- the five where most students reside. Formerly, students residing in different buildings were registered to vote in different locations -- including High Rise East, High Rise South and Irvine. The committee will attempt to reserve Houston Hall's Bodek Lounge for November's general elections. Pokras explained that 5,400 of 6,800 students who were registered to vote took part in the 1992 general election, an 80 percent turnout. An average of 600 students vote in general elections not held during presidential election years, he added. In Republican primaries for seats in the U.S. Congress, state Sen. John Peterson led with 43 percent of the vote over Bob Shuster, who had 20 percent, in Pennsylvania's 5th District, the state's largest. Shuster, the son of U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, was trying to join his father in Congress to become one-half of the first father-son team since 1845 to serve at the same time in the House. Rep. Ruth Rudy, who now represents the 5th District, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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