Election Day 2018 at the Mecca

by Fatou Drammeh

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The United States midterm election was Tuesday November 6, 2018. With governorships and several seats in U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives all open, it was labeled by many as the most important election of our lifetime.

This election had the power to shape the United States as the legislative branch will vote on important issues in the future. Due to the system of checks and balances, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will approve or deny any major decisions President Trump aims to make.

Many used social media to influence American citizens to go out and cast their ballots. Several campaigns urged for a large voter turn out this politically charged year. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey and Yara Shahidi used their platforms to promote voting. They also showed their support to specific candidates.

Various organizations at Howard University have worked since the first weeks of the school year to emphasize the importance of voting to their fellow bison. The Howard University Student Assembly, the Howard University Royal Court and the Undergraduate Student Assembly all promoted voting.

“During move-in day they all came out and tried to get people to register. They’ve also been big on it on social media,” said Nazareth Brown, Howard University freshman. “They’ve been really good at getting voter awareness and the mentality of ‘hey, your voice counts.’”

An election day watch party was hosted by the Office of Student Life and Activites in the Armour J. Blackburn center. After a day of exercising their civic rights, students gathered in Blackburn to
watch as the election results poured in.

The watch party gave students an opportunity to be directly engaged with the
coverage of the election, which is something many of them would not have otherwise been able to do.

“It keeps me in the loop of what’s happening back home (Georgia), so I feel like I’m apart of the election, even though I’m here in D.C.” said Brown.

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“I think it’s great because it gives a sense of unity,” said Jonathan Rhone, Howard University freshman. “No matter what your political views are, we’re all here as a school . . . seeing what’s happening and celebrating our political system.”

A mix of cheers and sounds of disdain filled the room as states such as Illinois elected black officers while Georgia and Florida shocked and worried Howard students.

“I felt hopeful that (Andrew) Gillum really had it and would turn things around . . . in education, healthcare, or anything. Instead, we’re left worse off or staying the same,” said freshman Elan Ingram.

Despite the results, elections like these display the importance and effect voting has on the direction of the country. In Texas, the democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke, lost by under 200,000 votes in a historically republican state.

The voter turnout in the young adult demographic increased by 508 percent since 2014. These
Indicate that young people are taking initiative to make the changes that they want to
see.

Being located in the nation’s capital as well as being a HBCU, Howard is rooted in politics. This year’s freshman class has felt the effects of it in the three months they have been on campus.

“Being in a place where people are so active in a lot of different things made me more excited to vote,” says Annalesia Law, freshman.

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