The long lines of students waiting to vote on Election Day last year were nowhere to be seen during yesterday’s municipal election.
Voter turnout for Penn students in this off-year election was very low, according to polling officials.
“A lot of the people were having trouble because of the strike,” said Sarah Roberts, Republican committeewoman for Division 5. She also attributed the low student turnout to the scheduling of midterms this week.
College senior Annassa Corley, president of the nonpartisan voter mobilization group Penn Leads the Vote, said the low turnout was not overly significant because yesterday’s contest was an off-year election.
“You really do have to compare like elections to like elections,” she said.
Penn Leads the Vote’s campaigns to increase voter participation included tabling on Locust Walk and online outreach on Facebook and on the group’s web site.
Despite these efforts, only 171 people voted at on-campus polling stations yesterday, down from 3,833 last year.
College Republicans chairman and Wharton senior Peter Devine said he was disappointed with the low turnout.
“It’s not the most important [election], but democracy is all about elections,” he said.
Despite this low turnout on campus, the race for Philadelphia District Attorney captured the public’s attention in the city.
In that contest, Democrat Seth Williams defeated his opponent, Republican Michael Untermeyer.
Williams, a former city inspector general and assistant district attorney, will be the city’s first black district attorney.
College junior and former Daily Pennsylvanian advertising representative Jordan Levine, president of the Penn Democrats — which endorsed Williams in the spring — predicted a Democratic victory earlier yesterday.
“It’s a pretty safe place for [Williams],” Levine said. “We’ll see exactly how large the margin is.”
Devine also said he was not “overly surprised” by Williams’ victory.
“The Republicans’ strategy was [just] to get turnout,” he said.
In the race for City Controller, Democratic incumbent Alan Butkovitz was reelected over Republican challenger Al Schmidt by an almost 2-to-1 ratio, according to unofficial election returns Tuesday night.
Although Philadelphia went to the Democrats, Republicans gained several important seats nationwide.
Voters in New Jersey elected Republican Chris Christie as governor over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine.
In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell was elected governor over Democrat Creigh Deeds.
And in a close race for New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who ran on the Republican ticket, defeated Democrat Bill Thompson.
Levine said these Republican victories do not necessarily reflect a substantial shift in public opinion.
“The way the media views every election as a referendum is unnecessary,” he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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