Despite the cold weather, Yale students and New Haven residents came out to vote in hoards on Tuesday.
New Haven Election Day results indicated an overwhelming Democratic majority in the city, with President Barack Obama receiving over 90 percent of the presidential vote, Congressman Chris Murphy winning over 87 percent of Senate ballots and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro taking over 92 percent of the vote in the congressional race, according to unofficial figures from city voting machines. Ward 1 Co-Chair Ben Crosby ’14 said voter turnout results were higher than expected city-wide. Crosby estimated that 1,500 students showed up at the polls in New Haven, exceeding an estimated 1,250 in 2008 and 800 for the 2010 midterm elections.
“I was thrilled. I expected [turnout] to be high. It was outstanding,” said Amalia Skilton ’13, who served as Ward 1 committee co-chair in 2010.
Skilton attributed the increased turnout to the grassroots efforts of the Yale College Democrats and other organizations working for the president’s re-election, citing tactics such as door-to-door voter outreach and voter registration on Old Campus. Additionally, she said many Yale students chose to vote in New Haven over their home states because the race between Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon garnered national media attention for being extremely close.
“It was nothing dramatic, nothing fancy — just lots of bodies knocking on lots of doors,” Crosby said.
Yale College Democrats President Zak Newman ’13 said his organization worked with other campus groups including the Yale College Republicans and Students Unite Now to register over 500 students this semester alone. He said the voter tally “disproves the thesis” of student voter apathy.
“2008 was a real inspiring election for a lot of people … but I think in this race we were really fighting to protect something,” Newman said.
Lenthy lines queued at several polling locations in New Haven on Tuesday as students flocked to vote. Hallie Meyer ’15 said she waited two hours to vote at the New Haven Public Library on Elm Street.
In Ward 1, where Skilton estimates students form 98 percent of the electorate, Obama beat former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney 1,109 to 195 votes. Romney won 15 percent of the Ward 1 vote, five points higher than the city-wide average of 10 percent.
Skilton attributed this higher-than-average number to Yale’s racial composition.
“If you look at the national turnout, it is clear that Obama got most of his support from people of color. Yale is the whitest neighborhood in the city,” she said.
According to the New Haven Independent, 40,366 New Haven residents voted for either Romney or Obama on Tuesday, excluding absentee ballots. This figure greatly exceeds the 24,590 New Haven votes cast in the 2010 Senate race and approaches the 44,210 city votes cast in the 2008 presidential race, according to state voting records.
Yale student election participation bucked the nationwide trend of lower voter turnout compared to 2008. According to Associated Press estimates with 97 percent of districts reporting, 118 million people voted this year nationwide, a figure down significantly from 131 million voters in 2008.