Groups celebrate election with large turnout

IUS Horizon

Several students and Thomas Kotulak, associate professor of political science, watch the projection screens and react as results of the 2012 Election are being reported across the nation.

As President Barack Obama won re-election for 2012, IU Southeast brought Election Day to a local level by hosting an Election Watch Party on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in University Center North.

More than 30 students attended the event, which included members of the College Democrats and College Republicans and faculty members.

Election coverage was shown on projection screens, and several students brought their own laptops to keep up- to-date with the incoming results.

Joe Wert, dean of the School of Social Sciences and associate professor of political science, said he was surprised by the turnout of people who attended the election screening, and he was glad this experiment was a success.

“I was hoping to get maybe 10 or 15 people, but this is really good,” Wert said. “It seems like there are a lot of Republicans and Democrats both here, as well, and there aren’t any fights breaking out.”

Victoria Bennett, political science senior and president of the College Democrats, said she thinks hosting the Election Watch Party showed students they do have a voice in the election process.

“The big point I want to stress to students is get involved but also get informed,” Bennett said. “Know what the issues are. Take a stance — don’t just take what somebody is feeding you.”

The Election Watch Party proved to be beneficial to students in other ways.

Justin Meredith, political science and Spanish senior, said if he was at home, he would be watching the election coverage by himself because his wife is not a fan of politics.

He said he liked having a group of people in the same room who were interested in the same things.

“I’m actually kind of curious as to what is going to happen at the end of the night, so I’m also here to watch the crowd and feel it out to see if any tensions develop throughout the night,” Meredith said.

Nickie Cain, general studies senior, Rhonda Wrzenski, assistant professor of political science, and James Luttrull, political science junior, look at the up-to-date results of the 2012 election online.

While those in attendance left before the results of the election were released, many of them said they believe this election will have a bigger influence on the country than previous elections.

Meredith said this election is a divided issue.

“Economically, I’m in the military, so this issue goes both ways to having [former Gov.] Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in office,” Meredith said. “I think that more so than any other election before this.”

Wert said this year’s presidential election was very close, and, even in the swing states, it was hard for Americans to figure out the victor.

On the other hand, some students had their fingers crossed that their candidate would win.

Thomas Geary, political science junior, said he believed Romney would take the win.

“Our country is in a bad spot, and we need change,” Geary said. “I think Mitt Romney is going to win. It is the change that America needs.”

However, Bennett said she was quite certain Obama would be the right person for the job.

“He is definitely more qualified than his opponent to continue literally moving our country forward in the right direction,” Bennett said.

She said if Obama won, he would need to rethink polices he has put in place that did not work.

“It’s not an easy fix,” Bennett said. “It’s not a quick fix. I think he definitely has done a great job to the point where we need to have him there to continue what he’s done and to just keep trying to make our country as great as it can be.”

Meredith said his opinions were split on the issue of who would take this presidential election.

“Although I voted for Mitt Romney, I believe that Barack Obama will probably win this one,” Meredith said. “It’s going to be really close, but I think in the end Mitt Romney is not going to get Ohio, and Obama is going to win.”

In regard to voting, Geary said he chooses to vote because these leaders are the representatives of the country.

“It’s important to vote because these elected officials set the course and the path for our country,” Geary said. “These are the leaders that we should turn to in the events of needs or leadership.”

Bennett said she agrees having the right to vote is very important for citizens, and voting is important to her because of women’s suffrage.

“We didn’t always have the right to vote,” Bennett said. “Just as a woman, it’s so important. As a minority, it’s huge to vote. You are never going to be heard if you don’t vote.”

Wert said despite whoever won, the next four years will be difficult for politicians in Washington.

“The House of Representatives is going to be controlled by the Republicans, and the Senate is probably going to be Democratic, so whoever wins the White House is going to be facing a divided Congress,” Wert said. “It’s going to be difficult for them to get a lot of stuff done.”