Colby students headed to the polls on Super Tuesday

Colby students joined thousands of Americans to vote on March 3, also known as Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday is the biggest voting day of the Democratic primaries, determining the allocation of 1,344, or 34%, of the Democratic Party’s delegates. A total of 14 states voted for their preferred candidate: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Vermont. 

The votes cast on Tuesday determined how delegates vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July. Delegates are often party officials at state or local levels. Most delegates are also pledged delegates, which means they are mandated to vote for a specific candidate at the DNC who reflects the views of the people they are representing. The number of delegates a state is allocated is based on its population. 

There are a total of 3,979 pledged delegates across all U.S. states and territories; Maine has 24 delegates. To secure the nomination, a candidate needs a majority, or 1,991 delegates. Candidates must reach a 15% popular vote threshold to receive any delegates. 

A total of 155 delegates have already been awarded following the Iowa and Nevada Caucuses, as well as the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was in the lead before Super Tuesday with 60 delegates. He was followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, with 54 delegates. Among active candidates, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had 8. Bloomberg had none. Delegates were also pledged to both former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, but both announced before Super Tuesday that they would be ending their campaigns. They have since endorsed Biden. 

At the time of publication on Tuesday night, the Associated Press called Alaska, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and California for Biden. Colorado, Utah, and Vermont were called for Sanders.

The Republican Party has also held its primaries. However, President Trump is not facing many challengers. His only major opponent is former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, who has not garnered enough support to appear on the ballot in Maine. 

In Maine, the primary is considered closed. This means that voters have to be registered with either the Democratic or Republican parties to vote. The Echo reached out to Colby Republicans, who declined to comment before publication. 

President Greene sent an email to students on Monday night urging them to exercise their right to vote. He cited that only 39% of Colby students voted in the 2018 elections. 

Co-president of Colby Votes, Lily Wilson `20, wrote in an email to the Echo, “we have worked to make sure that students know how and when to vote, as well as registered voters in Maine throughout the fall. Colby Votes also worked with President Greene and Colby Security to make sure that the shuttles would stop at The Elm on Tuesday to make getting to the polls as accessible as possible.” 

Colby students reported a variety of reactions after voting. Crowding at the polls in the late afternoon caused extended wait times, explained Sarah Bozuwa `22. 

“I unfortunately have a [last] name in the A-F section, and spent, I believe, over an hour in line. So, that was not ideal. There were other Colby students with other last names that were going through in ten to fifteen minutes time, so that was frustrating. I’m still really glad and really thankful that I was able to participate in this incredible process, and performance of duty.” Daniel Farr `21 appreciated his voting experience.

“I’ve never voted in Maine. It’s an important election and it brings me closer to the Waterville community,” Farr said.

The Democratic primary was not the only subject on the ballot on Tuesday. 

Mainers also voted on a state-wide referendum on vaccination laws for children. A group called Mainers for Health and Parental Rights proposed the referendum in an effort to reject a vaccination law passed by the Maine legislature last year. The law requires all children enrolled in the Maine school system to be vaccinated by 2021, and it eliminates non-medical and religious exemptions. 

Unlike the presidential primaries, voters do not have to be registered with a specific party to cast their ballot on the referendum, and the referendum to overturn the vaccination law was rejected by voters.