Students pack Ham Center to watch midterm results

When 19-year-old Anna Lynn Winfrey mailed her absentee ballot to her home state of Colorado, it was the second time she had voted.

“I voted in a local school board election in 2017,” said Winfrey. “Gotta exercise that democratic right that I get. Why would I not vote? It’s important to me that I have a somewhat competent legislature.”

The nearly 100 New College students who gathered Tuesday night at the Hamilton Center to watch election results come in shared Winfrey’s enthusiasm for voting in the 2018 midterm elections.

New College Democrats Co-President Amanda Norton was watching the Florida governor’s race closely and voted early at the North Sarasota Public Library. “I come from a family with a history of public engagement,” she said “Not only do I vote, but I volunteer and intern for political campaigns.”

Data Services Librarian Winn Wasson created a Lego legislature to track election results.
Data Services Librarian Winn Wasson created a Lego legislature to track election results.

Norton also noted that several of her fellow event organizers, like Katie Thurston, had gone home to cast their ballots and had yet to arrive at the viewing party. “Katie drove to Jacksonville because she didn’t get her mail ballot on time,” said Norton, “so she drove all the way back home to vote.”

Another event organizer, Hope Sparks, was also late to the viewing party because she drove home to Clearwater to cast her vote.

Those who made it to the Hamilton Center in time for returns to start coming in at 8 p.m. enjoyed pizza and live updates on Winn Wasson’s Legos legislature replicas. The data services librarian and former political science instructor began using the Legos models as a way to foster student engagement in his classes.

“In 2008 I was invited back to my high school to do the returns, and I decided to add Lego models of the House and Senate.”

The election night party was hosted by the New College Democrats, Gen Action, and Democracy Matters.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 700 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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