By Becca Kraybill
President Barack Obama won re-election to the White House for a second term on Tuesday evening. Polls predicted Obama’s victory over Republican candidate Mitt Romney as early as 11:12 Tuesday night.
Although news stations aired footage of voting booths and cheering crowds in large cities, Goshen College’s campus felt the effect of a historical election as well.
Some native Indiana students endured the lines of local voting polls, while many other students voted through absentee ballots.
Carrie Smucker, a senior from Pa., voted for the first time through an absentee ballot.
“It was empowering that my voice was heard and counted,” Smucker said.
Brisa Peacock, a junior, said she mailed her ballot just in time for it to count in Texas.
Sammy Rosario, a senior from Puerto Rico, voted for the first time as well. Rosario said that Puerto Ricans are only allowed to vote in United States elections when they are registered residents in the mainland, but not the island of Puerto Rico.
“I felt like I was giving a voice to all the Puerto Ricans at home that cannot vote,” Rosario said. “It was amazing to feel that power.”
On Tuesday evening, around 50 students and community members gathered in the Connector for an Election Day hymn sing and communion service. Bobby Switzer, a sophomore, directed the service as a leader of Hymn Club.
The communion service was just one of an estimated 473 held across the country on election night. The initiative was led by electiondaycommunion.org as a way for Christians to remember their allegiance to God and unite despite political differences.
“There’s something about singing in harmony that unifies people and shows they have more in common,” Switzer said.
Many students watched the election results on televisions or computers.
Justine Maust, a junior, said she watched the election through several live streams of news sources. Maust said it was fascinating to see the different interpretations of the results.
Amanda Vanderzee, Avery Martin, Yuli Whiteman, Hannah Beachey and Elizabeth Derstine—all first-years living in Yoder 3—said they watched the election results in their dorm lounge. When Obama won, Derstine said, “Everyone screamed, hugged each other, then ran to call their moms.”
Vanderzee said she felt like more students were enthusiastic about the last election.
The women agreed that the price of education, gay rights and immigration are issues they are looking for change in during Obama’s next term.
Other students were more relieved about the end of the election than the election’s results.
“Let’s end the hateful, dramatic, finger-pointing, whining circus,” Devon Spitler, a senior, wrote on her Facebook. “So we can finally begin to work together for equality, stability and social change.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Obama had secured 303 electoral votes, plenty more than the 270 needed to win, according to the Washington Post. Of the election’s swing states, Obama had won at least six, including a significant win in Ohio.
In Indiana, Romney gained 55 percent of the state vote, with Obama securing 45 percent; Democrat Joe Donnelly beat Republican Richard Mourdock for the U.S. Senate position; and Republican Mike Pence won the gubernatorial race over Democrat John Gregg, according to a Washington Post article.