Election excitement keeps students on campus late

Thomas Stone volunteers with other students in the Kimball Tower for the College Exit Poll on Tuesday, Nov. 8. (Ryan Turner)

Groups of anxious students stayed up late on the BYU campus Tuesday night, eagerly awaiting election results to know the future of the U.S.

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists, BYU College Democrats and Utah Colleges Exit Poll class spent the evening participating in election-related events.

BYU political science senior McKay Randall spent the evening with a group of students in the Kimball Tower volunteering for the exit poll project. He was part of a committee in charge of assigning all the groups for approximately 600 pollsters who went out to distribute exit poll surveys.

“There were a lot of changes to make last second as students dropped out and decided last second they didn’t want to or couldn’t go,” Randall said. “Some people were even here until 11 o’clock (Monday) night, went home, woke up at 3 o’clock and came back in the morning, so it was really busy.”

BYU economics senior Thomas Stone said he only got two hours of sleep the night before election day.

BYU senior Devin Ward, with other exit poll volunteers, unexpectedly met Evan McMullin at J Dawgs on Monday when they stopped there for dinner.

“We all got to take pictures with him and just kind of have a short conversation with him,” Ward said. “He was pretty cool. He was very down to earth. It was fun. It was exciting.”

Communications students in the BYU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists also met in the Brimhall Building newsroom to watch the election results. SPJ president Carley Lindsay attended the party with great hopes for the future of SPJ on campus.

“I hope this encourages interaction between journalists here at BYU and also increases club membership because SPJ is a great organization,” Lindsay said.

BYU public relations student Trevor Morgan also attended the SPJ gathering. He attended not only to watch the election results, but also to write an article about the election.

He sat around the newsroom’s round table with other student journalists typing furiously on their laptops. All were snacking on crackers, hummus and Swedish fish, among other treats. Most planned to stay as late as 1 a.m. as they wrote stories about the election.

“I came because there was food,” Morgan said, jokingly. “No, I came because I was asked to cover the senate races. Now I’ve learned I’m covering the Senate, House and Utah governors’ races.”

The BYU College Democrats met in the McKay Building on election night to support Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. The club had a turnout of about 50 people, with more streaming in. The room was filled to capacity and more chairs were brought in to accommodate everyone.

Jenica Woolley was one of the students with the BYU College Democrats club who convened at the McKay Building on BYU campus to support Hillary Clinton. (Gianluca Cuestas)

There was free pro-democratic merchandise on a table for anyone to take. Many people were socializing with an introductory game in which they had to guess which politician was written on a label on their forehead.

“The purpose really is just to provide a safe space for Democrats across campus to come support our nominee in the election,” said Alison Romano, BYU College Democrats co-president.

Romano, who is Canadian, was one of the several international students who were not registered to vote in the U.S. but came to support the democratic cause at the party.

“I am from Toronto, Canada, so it is a little different,” Romano said. “We’re more of a spectator. We’re not directly involved, but the exciting thing about BYU is that there’s a lot of Republicans who are voting for Hillary this year.”

Romano thought this election was very different from past U.S. elections.

“Never before have we had such hateful rhetoric in an election and so much anti sentiment,” Romano said. “I think a lot of the votes this year are more against than for and I think that’s kind of a new prospect that we haven’t really had before. And also there’s a female, which kind of changes up the board.”

The BYU Political Affairs Society and BYU College Republicans did not hold parties to watch the election results because members of both were involved with the Utah Colleges Exit Poll.

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