For freshman Elizabeth Miller, November meant the chance to vote for the first time in her life. For Kyle Good, a sophomore, this meant sending his absentee ballot all the way back to the swing-state of Virginia. And lastly, for Luke Hertzler, freshman and Bible and Ministry major, the presidential election was a time to pledge one’s sole allegiance to Christ and abstain from voting.
These three members of Hesston College represent only a small portion of the diversity on campus. Many other students held differing opinions on this political milestone as was evident in the political poll taken last week.
Though Hillary Clinton claimed the popular vote victory in the national election, Donald Trump will now become President of the United States with his 279 electoral college votes. And as the campus poll showed, the Hesston College community also supports Trump.
Diving into the statistics of the 134 recorded responses, 94% of students responding were eligible to vote this election season. However, only 65% voted on or before Nov. 8, some by absentee ballot, which came in handy for those that want to cast a vote for their home state. Wyatt Baer, a sophomore at Hesston College, says voting is a great responsibility.
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“Yes, I am voting. I am voting because I have the opportunity to choose leaders to represent me in our government that will make decisions that will affect me, my fellow Americans, and the whole world for that matter.”
Students like Hertzler took a much different stance.
“I’ve already chosen my leader,” he said. “Jesus.”
Hertzler adds,“I will certainly pray for the leaders around the world.”
The survey conducted during chapel on Nov. 2 suggests that 44 students voted for Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Forty votes were cast for Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the 11 votes were pledged to either Johnson, Stein, or a write-in candidate.
Haley Unruh, a freshman, is one of many who voted for Donald Trump this election.
“I’m voting for Trump,” she said. “I believe he will protect my beliefs. I know he will protect the 2nd Amendment and gun rights along with protecting unborn babies. I think he will do a good job at protecting our country from foreign threats as well.”
But for those who didn’t participate in voting, the question is why not? The overwhelming response was simply that students did not register in time to vote (19 votes). However, reasons such as disinterest or lack of information were also valid responses.
For those who did vote, the top two issues that they found most important were the economy and immigration. With the recent community read, Spare Parts, the idea of immigration is, clearly, fresh on the minds of the Hesston College students.
In the end, Donald Trump did win the majority vote at Hesston College. Looking at the patterns of Kansas voters in the past, Kansas has tended to vote along Republican party lines. This could be linked to the Hesston College poll as around half of the students on campus are natives of Kansas.
But these results are still rather surprising when looking at the theology of Hesston College. Michele Hershberger, Bible Professor at Hesston College, is one of many shocked by this show of support.
“I am surprised that most students would vote for Donald Trump, and I’m not sure how to interpret it,” she said. “With so much of our lives filled with polarities and paradox, maybe it feels good to follow a man who makes big claims and won’t back down. I also wonder if many of us, on both sides, are tempted to only listen to news sources that tell us what we want to hear or what we already believe.”