Lehigh students wait in line outside Litzenberger House on Nov. 8, 2016. In some instances, students waited more than two hours to cast their votes. (Samantha Tomaszewski/B&W Staff)

Lehigh students reflect on Election 2016 after casting their votes

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Students voted Tuesday at polling places in St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church on East Fourth Street, the Broughal Middle School Family Center on Morton Street and at the Litzenberger House on East Fourth Street. The Brown and White interviewed a number of students leaving the Litzenberger House polling station about their voting experience.

Many students voiced frustrations over long lines and the disorganization inside the polling station.

Zhane Jackson, ‘18, said she waited three hours to cast her vote, and thought the process would have been more efficient if there were more than three voting booths.

“There are so many Lehigh students voting here, and you have to take into account the people who actually live here,” she said.

Walker Finlay, ‘19, said the polling station seemed understaffed. Finlay, a Republican, said he voted for Hillary Clinton because he thought Donald Trump was an anomaly.

PJ Murphy, ‘18, also voted for Clinton, although he said he was not originally a fan of either Clinton or Trump. Murphy said he felt Clinton was most qualified for the presidency because she had the most political experience.

Other students, like Aaron Rotem, ‘19, opted for the Republican candidate. Rotem said he voted for Trump because he identifies as a Republican in terms of economic policy.

“Split ticketing gives false perceptions of voter identity across the nation,” Rotem said. “I feel like it (is) better to have people perceive there (are) more Republicans than to just vote for (Clinton).”

Jack O’Brien, ‘20, also voted for Trump. He said students’ votes will impact the world they’re graduating into more than they may think.

“I want the government staying out of my life, my guns and my property,” O’Brien said.

While many students opted to vote for the Democratic and Republican candidates, others chose to vote for third-party candidates.

Joe Ender, ‘20, a student involved in ROTC, voted for Jill Stein, although he is a Libertarian. He said he could not vote for Gary Johnson because he does not represent true Libertarian ideals. Ender spoke about the importance of voting.

“I voted because if you look at history, there has been a lot of sacrifices made for representative government,” Ender said.

Palmer Ferrara, ‘20, another ROTC student, voted Libertarian because he was not content with either major party candidate. Ferrara said he took military issues and foreign policy into consideration before voting.

Thomas Alvarado, ‘20, also voted for Johnson and said the economy, immigration and climate change were among the most important issues he considered before casting his vote.

Finlay, who also waited in line for over two hours, said he felt bad for Bethlehem residents who voted at the Litzenberger House polling station. Rotem said the process could have been improved if more Lehigh students were distributed to different polling stations.

Connor Downing, ‘20, said it seemed as though individuals with last names starting with letters in the beginning of the alphabet waited longer than others.

“I (have) a friend whose last name starts with a “T” and she got out in 45 minutes,” Downing said. “It was lopsided and some people had to wait longer than others. I waited for two hours.”

Additional reporting by Klaudia Jazwinska, ’18, news editor, and Cate Peterson, ’18, associate news editor.

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