Between high-voter turnout, long lines, bad weather and an off-campus hike to the Stryker precinct polling station, College of William and Mary students could use a hand in getting out to the polls Tuesday.
In order to help students get out to vote, the Student Assembly senate and the Office of Student Volunteer Services’ Community Service Leaders provided four vans on Election Day to escort students to and from the polls.
Sen. Ben Brown ’11, who drove one of the vans for a four hour shift Tuesday morning, said that he expected many students to take advantage of the van service today.
“I started out in the rain [this] morning,” he said. “If the rain keeps up, there will probably be more students taking the van.”
In addition to giving free rides to the polling station, SA volunteers also answered questions about voting procedures. Sheets indicating the proper address for on-campus residence halls were available in the vans, as well as voter guides for individuals who were unsure of the candidates’ positions.
As the vans pulled up to the city’s community center, where all on-campus and many off-campus students are registered to vote, several groups of students came out of the building to get a ride back to the Sadler Center.
“There are so many students voting,” Sen. Brittany Fallon ’11 said outside the Williamsburg Community Center, where lines stretched out the door. Fallon was handing out stickers to students that read “Hark Upon the Ballot Box,” another SA initiative.
“I think these crowds will be a little more calm than the Steer Clear ones,” Brown joked as students packed into the van’s back seat to be taken back to campus.
Two vans made trips to and from the Sadler Center, while another took students from the Yates Hall parking lot. A fourth van was used to drive students and Williamsburg residents to and from specific locations off campus.
According to Brown, Steer Clear Director Will Sealy ’09 reprogrammed the Steer Clear voicemail to allow individuals to request a ride to the polling station.
The SA also provided support to voters waiting outside the polling station, including information on the ballot’s layout. Sen. Matt Beato ’09 and Fallon served hot apple cider to those leaving the polling station.
In wake of the city’s shaky record with student voting, many SA members were worried about difficulties at the polling station; drivers of the vans asked students riding back from the community center if there were any glitches in their efforts today.
However, almost all reports have indicated that Election Day at the precinct went smoothly.
“Pretty much everyone says [it’s going] fine,” Beato said outside the precinct. “Everything’s going well.”
The SA’s election services are offered during important election years. Over 2,000 students have registered to vote in Williamsburg, a fact that was not lost on the candidates.
Democratic Congressional candidate Bill Day stood outside the precinct, shaking hands with students and community members around noon.
“I think [student registration efforts] will definitely work in my favor this year,” Day said.