Rocking the Vote
On October 4 Colby Democrats Ben Wexler-Waite ’14 and Catherine Minahan ’15 faced off with Colby Republicans Noah VanValkenburg ’13 and Henson Orser ’16 at a Goldfarb Center-sponsored debate about the presidential candidates and everything from healthcare to the personal character of each candidate.
This is not the only time Colby students got a taste of political fervor on The Hill. With the election drawing closer, both the Colby Democrats and the Colby Republicans were pushing to get students excited to vote. “Our goal is to get four hundred people to vote on early-vote day and double that amount for the Election Day,” said Wexler-Waite. “The stakes are obviously very high.”
Both student political groups were, of course, actively supporting the candidates of their party. Colby Republican President David Watson ’15 was organizing a forum with Maine State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office Ken Fletcher, and Mark Andre, Republican candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, District 76.
“It’s important to hear the other side of the argument,” Watson said, explaining why he was bringing these Republican public figures to campus. “You have to be willing to expose yourself, and I like that about Colby—that everyone is willing to listen to other sides.”
At the same time, Colby Democrats were canvassing for votes for the general election in key areas of the state. A group of students drove up to Bangor to knock on doors for Barack Obama. The Colby Democrats also made more than 800 phone calls through their phone bank.
The Colby Bridge (LGBTQ students and allies) staffed a table every day for a month in the student center and at Foss dining hall encouraging people to vote “Yes on 1,” a referendum that would legalize gay marriage in Maine.
Despite the divisive issues of this election however, all the political groups on campus had a common goal—to get more votes. That is why the Colby Democrats, the Colby Republicans, the Bridge, and the Student Programming Board were sponsoring a Get Out the Vote party Nov. 3, providing rides to get students to the polls.
“Voting … makes us feel more like we’re part of the community [in Maine],” said Watson. “My hometown is pretty homogenous. I think I can make more of a difference here.”