This story was co-reported by Nate Hadley.
As the reporting of election results has come to a close, Joe Biden has been named the 46th President-Elect of the United States. With President Trump having yet to concede, many politically active student organizations on WCU’s campus have their own views regarding the election process and the results so far.
WCU College Republicans President and Trump Victory volunteer Brandi Turner was stunned by the outcome.
“President Trump’s rallies leading up to the election were significantly larger than any of Joe Biden’s rallies,” she said in an email. “President Trump has a large following and support system throughout the nation, and I will continue to support our president even after the election cycle has been completed, with any future endeavors.”
WCU College Democrats President Kinsey Lee felt quite the opposite.
“Most polls showed that Biden was likely to win, specifically because of mail-in votes,” Lee said in an email.
Those mail-in votes have been called into question by many conservatives across the country and have been the topic of many lawsuits throughout the majority of key states.
“While this election cycle was different than any other year, my personal opinion was that mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and some early voting had left the door open for fraud,” Turner said. “COVID has made life very difficult over the past few months. Individuals are able to venture out to stores and restaurants; they are able to go out and vote in person to reduce the chances of fraud.”
One of Turner’s main concerns for a Biden administration is his stance on immigration.
“Biden hopes to reverse Trump’s immigration policies within the first 100 days in office. I disagree with Biden’s actions towards drastically changing the policies, which will increase American tax dollars to funding countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Our nation needs to be stronger, rather than implementing policies that will weaken and tear us apart,” she said.
The second concern Turner has is on his stance on gun rights.
“Biden wants to restrict gun owners by creating policies that will support banning and confiscating lawful firearms from millions of law bidding American citizens as well as making it difficult for gun owners to find firearm parts,” Turner said. “I disagree with these policies as Biden is taking away Americans of their Second Amendment rights one piece at a time. Over the course of these policies, this will destroy the American firearm industry with all the limitations.”
Lee even has her own reservations over a Biden presidency especially since he was not her original pick as the nominee.
“I think that his whole campaign was about going back to normal, and personally, I do not think going back to our country before Donald Trump would be helping the country,” she said. “There were issues in the country before Trump, and we must deal with those as well, and to me, I do not think Biden plans on fixing certain systemic issues. ”
Regardless of the results, both presidents of the two partisan political organizations on campus believe our election process needs change.
“I believe that our election process is a questionable system that many Americans believe is corrupt and dishonest,” Turner said. “Whether a recount is conducted, we may never know the full truth.”
“Personally, I believe that the country does need some reform of the election process, specifically in gerrymandering and in the electoral college,” Lee said. “I am not necessarily in the belief of getting rid of the electoral college. II just believe that it should be revamped to where all votes can count equally because currently, one person who votes in Wyoming has way more power in their presidential vote than one person voting in North Carolina.”
WCJ hosted a post-election forum on Zoom with representatives from WCU’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance organization and LatinX Appreciation Student Organization. Forum members included LASO President Andrea Romero Dugarte, SAGA President Rebecca Lewis and SAGA Vice President Shannon Miller. WCJ reached out to the Black Student Union at WCU, but a representative was unable to attend the forum.
See highlights from the discussion here.
Overall, each organization at the forum was glad that Trump will no longer be President. They believe that without him in power the focus can be on making change.
As direct as these students are about their political views, there weren’t as many outspoken supporters of either candidate as might be expected.
“I worked at the polling location on campus in the University Center for early voting and then at Cullowhee Campus Rec on election day, and I did not witness any outspoken supporters within the voting location,” said Rebecca Hart, Campus Election Engagement Project Fellow and Student Democracy Coalition member. “There were vocal supporters of candidates and parties located outside the polling location on Election Day, though.”
According to Hart, Executive Director of Community Engagement and Service Lane Perry estimates that SDC successfully registered 500 students through multiple methods such as tabling and classroom presentations.
“2,557 people voted at WCU’s early voting location,” Hart said. “WCU had the highest percentage of same-day registrations of any site in the state and was also the youngest site in the state with an average voter’s age of 26.7.”
Overall, Hart thinks North Carolina overall was well prepared in regards to mail-in ballots but lacked when it came down to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles’ online voter registration.
“During early voting and Election Day, it became evident that the DMV was not updating their information in a timely manner,” she said. “As a result, several students had to vote provisional ballots.”
To learn more about the various political organizations on campus, click the links below.