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Liberty students cast votes at local poll

November 4, 2008 : Teresa Dunham

Liberty University students arrived at Heritage High School to vote in full force on Tuesday, braving the rain to ride public transit provided by LU or driving there in small groups.

Two Liberty students — easy to identify by their LU sweatshirts — paused outside the high school in Lynchburg, Va., to explain how being Christians and LU students would influence their decision at the poll.

Chris Pascarella, a 21-year-old senior studying pastoral leadership, said he was originally registered to vote in New Jersey, but he switched to vote in Virginia after LU launched its campaign to register students to vote locally.

Pascarella said he thinks his vote will carry more weight in the Commonwealth, adding that his nod goes to Republican candidate John McCain.

“I just feel that he will do the better job because he has some policies that line up with Christian truth, being in favor of pro-life issues. The abortion issue is probably the biggest concern for most Christians,” he said.

His friend, Adam Knebel, 22-year-old senior math major, shared similar views. He planned on voting with an absentee ballot at first, but LU’s campaign to register student voters locally made sense to him.

“I figured my vote would count a little more here,” Adam said. “My home state of Minnesota always goes democratic, and that’s not how I feel.”

As Pascarella and Knebel went inside to vote, 18-year-old freshman Edward Tookes sat on the public transit bus, waiting to return to campus after casting his vote.

“Liberty did the responsible thing of trying to push voters to vote,” Tookes said, adding that he wished students could have heard more from the democratic side during convocations.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. told students at a convocation earlier in the election season that he had invited representatives from both parties, including Democratic candidate Barack Obama, but Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine came instead.

“I thought [LU] did a good job in getting people to vote and not being passive,” said Molly Paulus, a 20-year-old sophomore studying how to teach English as a Second Language, who also rode the bus to the poll.

Besides providing bus service, LU has planned a jam-packed day of election coverage and fun activities for students. To get involved, check out the schedule.

In addition, campus radio station 90.9 FM The Light will have election coverage all evening starting at 8 p.m. The station will broadcast live from the Vines Center and also have a DJ back at the station headquarters providing constant election updates largely drawn from Fox News and CNN. A few Virginia congressmen and other politicians are also lined up for interviews.

“We wanted to bring a personal touch,” said news director James Kimmey. “It’s going to be fair election coverage.”