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UR Students gather to watch midterm election results

By: Sabrina Escobar and Brianna Weitz

Dozens of University of Richmond students gathered at the Carole Weinstein International Center commons to eat, talk and do homework while waiting for the 2018 midterm election results. The event was organized by the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement as a forum for students to comment on the elections and engage in bipartisan civil discourses, Sasha Hollister, program manager of community relationships and UR Downtown, said. "We've done a lot leading up to the event to promote the elections and get students register to vote," Hollister said. "Part of that, of the election watch party, is to get students engaged and excited about it and not just casting your ballot, but caring about the results." This year also marked the first time UR students could vote for the midterms at an on-campus polling location, the Jepson Alumni Center, Dave McCoy, associate vice president of public safety & chief of police, said in an email. The move came after the CollegeDems placed in inquiry about having a polling location earlier this year, he said. The polling location serves as District 101 for the City of Richmond and has been used once before for the Republican primaries on June 12. "In contrast to the 50 total voters in June, our election today drew 831 on site voters," McCoy said. "I observed a steady stream of students throughout the day completing the voting process." Students were generally positive about being able to vote on campus rather than having to drive off campus. "It's good to have like young, friendly faces at like 7 a.m., rather than stressed out people going to work," Alicia Jiggets, senior, said. Henry Hetz, freshmen, said that although he liked being able to vote on campus, he thought the Jepson Alumni Center still felt far away. The Alumni Center was chosen as a polling location because it had all the necessary requirements for a polling location, including parking, access for people with disabilities and the appropriate amount of space, McCoy said. "We took a good idea and put some effort into it which created an environment for our students to exercise their right to vote, their privilege to vote, and their responsibility to vote," he said.