Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vines Center precinct crowded

The Vines Center at Liberty University served as the major precinct for all residential students during the Nov. 6 general election. As doors opened promptly at 6 a.m., students rushed in to cast their vote for the next president as well as for their contender for the Senate and congressional seats.

Polls — Close to 3,500 students were active voters at the Vines Center precinct Nov. 6. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Several students devoted hours and service to publicizing the election around campus.
Liberty student Sarah Smith, a volunteer with College Republicans at Liberty University (CRLU), credits the group for her involvement in this election.

“I woke up at 4:15 a.m., was here by 5 a.m., and we got right to work distributing signs all over campus to remind people to vote,” Smith said. “Around 10 a.m., there was roughly 690 voters — right after that, the line got extremely long and didn’t let up the rest of the day.”

There were 5,891 registered voters for the Vines Center. Of those, 3,347 were active voters and 2,405 were inactive voters, according to the Virginia State Board of Electors. Active voters had a verified and accurate address, whereas inactive voters needed to verify his or her address or update a voter registration card.

According to the General Registrar for the City of Lynchburg Carolyn Sherayko, there was a 56.88 percent turnout of voters at the Vines Center and a 61.9 overall city turnout. There were 18 total precincts throughout the city, including a central absentee precinct.

Wendell Walker, a Republican Party leader and alumnus of Liberty University, knows firsthand the influence that Liberty plays in the community and the surrounding areas.

“I think a lot of folks know … (about) Liberty and what we do here,” Walker said. “It blesses my heart to see so many champions for Christ out here today, knowing that this is their future. I’m sure that Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. is smiling down from
heaven today.”

Numerous students were pleased with the convenience of the Vines Center location and the ease of voting that it provided for them.

“I like this whole method of voting here in the Vines Center,” Liberty junior Tim Young said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to vote, and it was advertised really well. It wasn’t biased on one candidate or the other, and they recommended voting for biblical values. I thought that was a really good thing to understand for our country.”

Many students expressed their enthusiasm to vote in this election season. Hannah Mierley, a senior from Northern Virginia, believes that voting is a big responsibility, one that many people do not take as seriously as they should.

Delegate Scott Garrett, who represents Virginia’s 23rd House District, took the time to observe the lines at each precinct during Election Day, including the Vines Center.

“Our values matter — those three words say it all,” Garrett said. “I think that’s why we’ve had such an extraordinary turnout of 20-somethings — young men and women who have a particular worldview.”

Garrett was more than pleased with the turnout at the Vines Center.

“Folks are very concerned about the future,” Garrett said. “Our students reflect not only their individual votes, but also the votes of their sphere of influence — parents, neighbors, friends, hall mates, etc.”

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. was delighted to see the student involvement on Election Day and strived to provide students with a positive experience, which included supplying dinner to those waiting in line for long durations — some up to four hours.

“The students turning out in big numbers has a big impact on local and state officials, and how they view Liberty University and issues that are important to Liberty students is important,” Falwell said. “The fact that students came out helps Liberty in so many ways when those officials make decisions about meal taxes, sales taxes and other taxes. There are so many decisions that the local government makes every year that affect students. Liberty students did themselves a big favor by showing up and being good citizens.”

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