Student organization caravans to the polls

Photo by Andrew Crider
Photo by Andrew Crider
Photo by Andrew Crider

This Super Tuesday, one group of students is helping their peers get out and vote.

Students for Bernie VCU, a club on campus dedicated to supporting Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, made themselves available all day to drive students to the polls. Volunteers organized caravans for students, faculty and staff from the Compass to the polls until 6 p.m.

Graduate student Tyler Walter organized the event with the club’s president Caroline Butler and was one of the first volunteer drivers of the day.

“The RVA for Bernie Chapter donated chairs and tables to help out. Other than that, we’re just going with the resources we have on hand,” Walter said. “I think we’re the only caravan in the region that is existing right now.”

Walter said the club caravanned all students regardless of political affiliation.

Photo by Andrew Crider
Photo by Andrew Crider

“It doesn’t matter who they’re supporting, we’re giving them a ride. Bernie, Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Hillary – it doesn’t matter,” Walter said. “If they want to vote, they get a ride.”

Will Edwards-Thro, a junior political science major, said the precinct for students living on campus is most likely within walking distance of the university, but the caravanning especially benefits students in off-campus housing.

“If you live in a neighborhood like Oregon Hill, you’ll probably need to drive because those voting locations are in Randolph,” Edwards-Thro said. “We’re trying to get people who live off-campus and need a ride to the polls. Hopefully we’ll get them to their precinct.”

VCU students were not the only ones volunteering to drive today. Kevin Kurack, a 2014 graduate of the University of Richmond, said he chose to caravan because finding transportation to the polls is one of the biggest challenges voters face.

“One of the biggest motivators for me to drive was getting all students and millennials in general out to vote because I know that our representation at the polls has been pretty terrible” Kurack said.

Kurack said the percentage of Bernie supporters under the age of 30 is huge, but getting them out to the polls is the biggest problem he’s noticed.

“So I wanted to help out somewhere and get voters out there,” Kurack said.

Although most volunteers present at the event were of the age demographic of 18-25 years old, one driver stood out from the rest. 69-year-old VCU alumni Ron Skinner was among the first round of drivers caravanning to the polls today. An avid Sanders supporter, Skinner said it was the students’ enthusiasm that attracted him to the event.

“The kids own the future,” Skinner said. “A lot of people my age have already given up. Bernie is the first person that might be able to tip over the apple cart and make a change.”

Students may be the future in Skinner’s opinion; yet according to Walter, students are contributing less than they should.

“I think the youth turnout is really low in elections, so anything to make getting to the polls easier for them is part of the incentive in doing this,” said Walter. “And if we do our part to increase the voter turnout, Bernie’s going to win some delegates and win some states.”

Joe Johnson, Contributing Writer

Online News Editor, Maura Mazurowski

Maura Mazurowski, photo by Brooke MarshMaura is a junior cinema and journalism student. She’s interested in combining investigative journalism with filmmaking, and is a contributing writer for the online publications Elite Daily and Literally Darling. Before transferring to VCU, Maura was an editor for the student newspaper at Virginia Tech, the Collegiate Times. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Portfolio

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