This Election Day, 756 Haverford students turned out to vote, with an additional 126 voting by mail, according to Doug Stuart, the election coordinator for the college. Students cast their in-person votes at the Facilities building, located in the south part of campus by the Haverfarm, and from 12-2 pm, a waffle truck across from Roberts Hall greeted voters.
“If young people come out to vote, they determine the elections. We need them to come out and we’ve seen really good energy through PA [District] 5 so we’re hopeful,” advised Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon. Scanlon represents Haverford College, among other places, in the House of Representatives.
This midterm election was crucial for both national and state politics. The Governor’s race, between Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano, would decide who would decide the state’s current policies on many hot-button issues, such as abortion, climate change, and education. Another key race was for United States Senator, between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz, which will impact policy on a national level. Despite both races being close, Shapiro and Fetterman won.
Haverford students understood the importance of voting at the college in this election and made sure that they turned out to vote.
Willy Aguilar-Montenegro ‘25 says, “voting at Haverford is a chance to put in my voice in a state that does have a lot of power in this political system.” Isabella Otterbein ’26 agrees, saying “PA is a very important state to vote in and l’m glad l got to cast my vote here.”
First-time voter Erick Iraheta ’26 was excited to vote in this election, saying, “because l’m in PA, this vote really means something. It felt really convenient to vote on campus, it didn’t feel stressful to cast the vote.” Hipolito Salazar ’24 also appreciated the convenience of the on-campus polling place, saying “Voting at Haverford and having this polling place so close gives me accessibility to voting which is something l would have had to plan out more otherwise.”
But voting hasn’t always been convenient.
“Six years ago students had to take a shuttle bus more than a mile away to cast their ballots,” says Laura Cavender, the Ward Commissioner for Haverford College. Prior to 2017, Haverford students had to vote at Coopertown Elementary, over a mile and a half away. “The college r[a]n shuttles, but that means students, who have heavy academic workloads, must wait more than an hour to catch a ride, vote and return,” states a Philadelphia Inquirer article.
Political science professor Zach Oberfield and others had been trying for years to get the polling place changed, and their request was granted in time for students to vote in the 2018 midterm. “It feels like a moment of victory for democracy … because this is more access and making it easier to vote for everyone should be our goal,” Oberfield shared in a Philadelphia Inquirer article.
The new polling place has made it more convenient for Haverford students to vote, and in this past contentious election, every vote has mattered. As of this writing, Pennsylvania remains the only flipped Senate seat in the country, which secured the split chamber. Although Fetterman had a close race in the state, winning by four percent, he won Haverford College’s precinct by a landslide, with over a 90% vote. The college also played a similar role in the state governor’s race, with their 93% vote contributing to Shapiro’s victory in the county and the state.
Although Haverford students played a key role in the Pennsylvania elections, not all were excited to vote. Abigail Trapp '26 was hesitant but still went out to vote, saying, "I felt a little hesitant about who l was voting for. I think l have a lack of confidence in politicians in general. [But] I think it's important to exercise your right to vote even if you feel hesitant and especially being young."