Busloads of students head to local polls with help from Buffalo State NYPIRG chapter

Benjamin Joe, Online Editor

The elections came up fast this year and was considered important enough to students that Wes Thomas of SUNY Buffalo State’s chapter of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and volunteers spent the entire day trying to get people to vote.

With a schedule of three marches to the polls (10:50 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:50 p.m.) starting at the Cleveland Hall archway, and then bussing students from Cleveland Circle to the polling place (50 Rees St.) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., posting flyers, passing out leaflets, talking to students in classes and in the hallway, the entire organization did all that they could to get the word out to vote.

Thomas also mentioned some online aids like ballotpedia.org and votersedge.com to pinpoint each race for voters and where they are registered to vote.

Some students, like freshman English education major Shannon Whittaker, said she wasn’t even concerned about the other votes, she was voting for president.

“So basically, I’m voting for Hillary because I want to see a woman in office,” Whittaker said. “I think it’s time to make some history and if Donald Trump wins, we’re going like 50 years back, do you know what I mean? He has shown and he has proven that he doesn’t want to see anything good to come out of this election. This is literally just for him, for his benefit, for his popularity… he feels he’s running this whole show.”

For those students that registered with NYPIRG’s help, Thomas and volunteers called to remind them that it is Election Day.

Very few people showed up for the marches, only a couple at 10:50 a.m. and five at 12:15 p.m., according to Thomas. The bus, however, was packed at 4 p.m., filled with eager voters Thomas addressed the crowd.

“They shouldn’t ask for your ID at all, a lot of students have been voting today and they have not been asking for IDs. It is good to have just in case, but a photo ID should be fine,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be paper, so you’re going to have a long sheet. You got about six or seven things you’re going to be voting for, so you fill out one for each one. When you’re done you put it into a machine.”

Free t-shirts were passed out to those who rode the bus by former United Students Government President Derek Jorden. One of the things that could go wrong did when the bus accidently went in the opposite direction of the polling place before being corrected by Thomas.

Despite all the obstacles, students still felt they should vote in the election.

“It’s really important to get your voice out there and not sit around and complain on the Internet,” said Jordan Fickling from Queens, NY. “So a lot of people are really vocal of who they are going to vote for and when it comes down to voting no one votes. I didn’t want to be one of those people.”

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