Election Day is upon us yet again, and Haverford College finds itself in a unique moment in American politics amid a presidency unlike any other. Two years ago, Haverford students found themselves in the middle of a political earthquake, as Donald J. Trump defied the odds and was elected the 45th President of the United States. The state of Pennsylvania was critical to his victory, and depressed turnout in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Two years later, Haverford students will head to the polls in what has been billed as the most consequential midterm election in American history.
The perennial swing state of Pennsylvania has a number of important races, which could have massive implications for control of Congress and the state legislature. The incumbent Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is facing off against state senator Scott Wagner (R), who from the perspective of most observers has run a poor race marked by incendiary comments about wanting to “stomp” on his opponent’s face. Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D) is seeking a third term against Congressman Lou Barletta, who has aligned himself closely with President Trump. Senator Casey has focused his attack ads on Barletta’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Finally, after the resignation of Congressman Patrick Meehan, and following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to redraw the congressional map, a crowded field of candidates entered the race for what is now Pennsylvania’s 5th district. The Democrats have nominated Mary Gay Scanlon, a civil rights lawyer and former school board member, to face off against the Republican Pearl Kim, a former Assistant District Attorney who specialized in sex crimes.
Haverford students will have one less hurdle to voting this election season. Following an unprecedented amount of activism from the college and nearby residents, the Delaware County Board of Elections on Sept. 24 voted unanimously to move the precinct’s polling place from Coopertown Elementary School to the Facilities building on campus. The approval came after years of trying and after the college assured the board that it would provide a civil voting experience for students and residents. “It met all the requirements, and the college went out of its way to be accommodating to all voters,” Election Board Chairman Carmen Belefonte said after the vote, as reported by the Inquirer.
Haverford Votes, a non-partisan group that has been organizing election activities and outreach, wrote via email that they hope everyone will take advantage of their opportunity to shape their country on election day. They will be tabling outside all day to provide information, snacks, and stickers to voters. There also is an election watch party being sponsored by the Haverford Democrats and Republicans in the East Wing of the DC basement.
“Haverford Votes is very excited that the polling station is now at the Facilities building on campus,” the group wrote in its statement. “Having the polling station on campus not only makes it easier for students to vote, it also brings us closer to the local community. Voting is key because it is the most direct way that we can express our vision of how our community should be run.”
The polls open at 7AM and close at 8PM.