Sofia Maietta ‘19
On Tuesday, September 25, Holy Cross’ Student Government Association under Co-Presidents Meredith Coolidge ‘19 and Adrian Cacho ‘19 hosted an event to support National Voter Registration Day in an effort to increase voter turnout among Holy Cross students.
SGA set up tables in various locations across campus, including Kimball Dining Hall, Cool Beans, the Hoval, outside of Dinand Library, the Science Atrium, and Stein Hall. Members from several student groups were present to help students, including the College Democrats and the College Republicans. With the help of these volunteers, students were able to register to vote as well as request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 6 elections.
SGA has reported that in its 2018 elections, voter turnout was exceptionally high, reaching a record of 68 percent. It has also reported that in the 2014 midterm elections, voter turnout among young people was a mere 18 percent compared to that of the overall population, which was 37 percent.
The campaign, named “Momentum 18,” was led by Katherine Lenahan ‘19 and Adeline Gutierrez ‘19 who are Co-Directors of Social Justice on the SGA cabinet.
When asked where their inspiration for the event came from, Lenahan responded, “Adeline and I developed this idea once we saw the record high voter turnout for the spring 2018 SGA elections, which was 68 percent of the student body. This statistic is the inspiration behind the name ‘Momentum 18.’ We chose the term ‘momentum’ to harness the energy that we found on campus during the SGA elections.”
Speaking on why the pair believes this event was important to implement, Lenahan continued, “We believe that it is essential for students to feel empowered and to understand the magnitude of their voices through their ability to vote. We believe that this nonpartisan campaign is critical to gain positive energy around voting on our campus.”
The 2018 midterm elections come at a time when over 500 officials will be up for election. Moreover, an unprecedented number of female and minority candidates will be running for the first time this year. Many red state Congress members are in heavily contested seats this election cycle, as increasing numbers of constituents seem to be displeased with recent Congressional measures such as the tax reform bill. As experts have predicted that many Republican incumbents could fall to Democratic challengers, both the Democratic and Republican parties have poured millions into campaigns and advertising in order to encourage their voter base to turn out in November.
One campaign which has captured an abundance of national attention is that of Senator Ted Cruz, one of two Republican Senators from Texas. His challenger is Beto O’Rourke, a current U.S. Representative from Texas’ 16th congressional district. A Democrat who arguably has one of the best chances of ousting an incumbent Republican senator, O’Rourke has become the face of the “blue wave” that Democrats say is coming in November. On September 21, the two engaged in the first of a series of three debates where they clashed over policy, including the Second Amendment, immigration, police brutality, and the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
While some polls indicate that O’Rourke and Cruz are in a deadlock, others have shown Cruz up by as many as nine points. However, the majority of pundits seem to agree that this election is one of the most contentious of all elections during the 2018 midterms, and that the outcome, similar to countless others, will be extremely hard to predict.
Members of SGA help students register and request absentee ballots for the upcoming elections as a part of their Momentum ’18 campaign. Photo by Hui Li.