Eligible PA Seniors Vote in Midterm Elections

Many members of the Class of 2007 were eligible to vote in the midterm elections this past Tuesday, and most of them chose to voice their political opinions, either via absentee ballots for boarders or poll booths for day students. Many Seniors expressed excitement over the chance to vote and be a part of a process that many have anticipated since middle school. Though some students preferred to wait to learn more about the voting process and politics before casting their ballots, Seniors generally demonstrated a high level of interest in this year’s midterm elections. In fact, some were even surprised that Phillips Academy did not sponsor or promote Senior voting. On campus political clubs campaigned for specific candidates as well as their respective parties. Many of the Senior members of these clubs were especially enthusiastic because of their eligibility to finally participate in the voting process. Headed by Prateek Kumar ’07, Phillips Academy’s Republican Club traveled to Rhode Island on Sunday to campaign for Senator Lincoln Chafee ’71. During their time in Rhode Island, Republican Club members visited several homes and held up signs at intersections, asking residents to vote for Senator Chafee. “The great surprise of the day was that we got to meet Senator Chafee himself, who was more than happy to see students from his alma mater campaigning for him,” said Kumar. Though Kumar himself could not vote because he is still 16, he said, “I am excited about this election and have tried to do my part by helping out with GOP campaigns, including that of Senator Chafee’s.” Despite the Republican Club’s efforts, Senator Chafee lost to now Senator Sheldon Whitehouse by six percent of the votes. The Republican Party lost a total of 33 seats in Congress to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Club was especially excited for the midterm elections. “It’s the first time in 20 years that Democrats can retake the Senate and the House,” said President Joseph O’Hern ’07. However, before the elections took place, he described reservations about the results: “I realize that it’s still going to be a tough battle…Republicans have structural advantages. The congressional districts are set up so that there are more Republicans in each area,” said O’Hern. Democratic Club campaigned specifically for Deval Patrick, Democratic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. Like the Republicans in Rhode Island, the members of the Democratic Club visited Lawrence over the weekend to rally support for Patrick. They went from door to door to remind Lawrence residents of the location and time of the voting. Members also put up fliers and handed them out throughout the town, even asking businesses for permission to distribute fliers to customers throughout the day. According to O’Hern, Democratic Club chose to visit Lawrence partly because it is heavily populated by Democrats. On Election Day itself, Democratic Club gave members the chance to watch as votes were counted and the data was analyzed. Election Day proved to be a great victory for Democrats, who took over the House and maintained strong representation in the Senate. Patrick, now the governor of Massachusetts, gained 56 percent of the votes (over one million votes), which is a 21 percent difference from the percentage of votes Republican candidate Kerry Healey received. Healey gained 35 percent of the votes, a little more than 750,000 votes. Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards said, “I think [Seniors] should definitely vote. Not just day students, but boarders too…It’s a right that needs to be exercised. If you start when you’re eighteen, you learn the importance of voting.”