ASLC and Watzek host midterm election viewing party for students

Image from Piolog archives

By Charlotte Powers

The Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) in collaboration with Watzek Library hosted a midterm election party on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The watch party aimed to provide students with a space to engage in politics, while other students reflected on how the elections went after the event.

Erin Guldbrandsen, a temporary research and instruction librarian for the Political Science, Economics, and International Affairs departments, proposed having an election watch party to Student Activities Director, Jason Feiner, who then reached out to ASLC.

“I thought it would be a little more comforting and engaging to watch election results with other people,” Guldbrandsen said. “It’s important for students to know that they can discuss politics. Plus, LC students seem very engaged compared to the average college student.”

Mary Welch ’22, felt she should attend to change her election viewing experience as a result of the 2016 presidential election.

“The midterms are important and it’s always better to watch elections with people in case the results are sad,” Welch said. “Like the 2016 election, it was better to be with other people and be sad together.”

Community and Service and Relations Coordinator for ASLC, Mikah Bertelmann ‘21 shared how this event was one way of promoting democratic engagement on campus.

“It is important for students to engage in the voting process, cast their vote, have multiple sources display the results to gain multiple perspectives, discover other ways to get involved, and learn about results that can affect other states,” Bertelmann said.

During the event, students noted the significance of this election cycle and how voting is an important civic duty that individuals should exercise. Cassidy Harris ’22 agreed with this reasoning and voiced her approval of democratic voters.

“Midterm elections, especially this one, are super important because they really show how Americans feel about the state of the country,” Harris said over email. “I’m so glad Democrats won control of the House and that we’re still fighting for a few important governorships.”

Welch was hurt over Democrats not winning both the House and the Senate, but was pleased with the results as a whole. “I feel pretty good about the midterm election results,” Welch said over email. “It sucks that Democrats couldn’t win both, but one is better than nothing. I think a returned balance to the government is gonna be a good thing.”

Other students were disappointed with results that they felt would negatively impact their own states and districts. Quinn Vinlove ’21, an Alaskan native, had hoped to see his state elect more progressive candidates.

“I was disappointed about the Alaska governor’s race,” Vinlove said over email. “The elected candidate, Mike Dunleavy, has among other things threatened to slash the state budget and reduce funding for public education, as well as make it easier for oil companies to pay less in taxes.”

Towards the end of the viewing party, Guldbrandsen emphasized how the main take away from this event was for students to have a place where political conversations matter and political efficacy is praised.

“I want students to know that we can discuss things, to know that we are all citizens and your role in democracy matters,” Guldbrandsen said. “And if a candidate you don’t like gets elected, you can still be politically engaged and do your part.”

Election results confirmed that Democrats claimed the House of Representatives while the Senate remains under a Republican majority. A number of races across the country still have not been called because hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots have yet to be counted.

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