Lehigh students showed up in droves to vote in today’s election, taking time out of the school day to stand in winding lines outside of Litzenberger House on East Fourth Street. After waiting for sometimes more than two or three hours to vote, several students found out that their wait had been for nothing.
They were not registered to vote.
Josh Goldberg, ‘17, said he had registered with NextGen Climate Pennsylvania outside of Fairchild-Martindale Library. He originally planned on registering online but was persuaded to do it on campus.
“They actually followed up with me three times telling me I should be all good and in the system,” he said.
Goldberg said he spent two hours on the phone on the last day of registration, just to check that he had been registered. It was too late when he found out he had not been registered.
“I called in and they told me they never even got an attempt to file anything under a similar name,” he said. “Had they at least attempted to turn it in and something was wrong, they would’ve sent me a letter.”
Goldberg was still able to vote in his home state of Illinois, where he was originally registered, when he happened to be home for the World Series.
“They just kept harassing us saying, ‘Oh yeah we got your vote in, make sure you vote,’ and then we can’t even vote because they messed it up,” he said.
Heath Patterson, ‘20, was in line for 2 1/2 hours and did not get to vote. He registered on Lehigh’s campus with NextGen and said the paperwork did not make it through
“They just said tough luck,” he said. “I’m extremely frustrated.”
Patterson said he would’ve voted for Clinton, as he believes her social policies are what America needs, as opposed to Trump’s.
Jack Fields, ‘18, said the polling location did not have his registration so he was also unable to vote.
“I waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to find out that Lehigh messed up my own registration form,” he said. “I am so frustrated.”
Aleigha Cavalier, the communications director for NextGen Climate Pennsylvania, said that NextGen registered more than 80,000 voters in Pennsylvania. The organization has received a handful of problem reports at the voting booths.
She said given the high volume of voters who registered, it is possible that county officers could still be processing the voter roles for the precincts. Cavalier said students can request a provisional ballot.
For the past few months, NextGen was on campus registering anyone who wanted the opportunity or register to vote. Cavalier said the organization handed over every voter registration to vote to the county officers.
“If they had a backup (of registrations), that’s on them,” Cavalier said.