By Chris Avery, Maggie Crowe, Curtis Fraser, Karen Marquez, Marissa Minor, Robert Nelson, Liz Stygles, Andy White
WESTON, Mass. – Sophomore track and field athlete Taylor Garner sat in a chair in the basement of the Regis Student Union building on Tuesday night, staring at a live stream of CNN Presidential Election coverage.
“I’m not leaving until there’s a president,” he said. Garner, along with junior Gabie Telemaque of Somerville, Mass., led an initiative at the university called Regis Rocks the Vote, encouraging the student body to register to vote in this year’s election.
Many students at Regis are voting this year in their first presidential election, and voters at the nearly 2,000-student Catholic university were torn about the prospects of choosing a new president.
“I don’t think there’s ever been such a polarized difference (between two candidates). They’re north and south,” said Garner. “What does that mean for our republic?”
According to data from YouGov, an internet-based research firm based in the United Kingdom, 38 percent of first-time voters are excited to vote in this election while 37 percent are not excited.
“In a way it’s exciting, and in a way it’s kind of scary,” said Regis freshman Shelagh O’Neil, a Tyngsboro, Mass. native on voting for the first time. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
First-time voter Rachel Tortora, a senior from Haverhill, Mass., says it’s too early to tell whether this election will impact how she votes in the future. “It depends on if the candidates are just like these two.”
The wave of first-time voters did not just stop at Regis. According to a poll of 35,000 voters taken by Reuters, 15 percent of voters this year will be voting for the first time, a number that is up from nine percent in 2012.
“You really need to look into it to have an educated vote,” said Regis senior Matt Norton, from Weymouth, Mass. “I think we will be more inspired to be politically active for the next election.”
One of these candidates will prevail