Though there was no impromptu rally on the quad following the results of this year's Election Day, both national and local issues on the ballot generated extensive discussion and debate before and after the polls closed. Through both early voting events and day-of polling sites, Bowdoin students turned out en masse to cast their votes in the state elections.
The Brunswick Town Clerk Office was unable to provide statistics regarding the exact number of Bowdoin students that voted on Tuesday, but noted that 417 students cast ballots on Early Vote Day, held in Smith Union on October 26.
The office will not be able to open voter lists for at least five days, but Town Clerk Fran Smith noted that there were approximately 100 Bowdoin students who voted through day-of registration in Districts 6 and 7. These districts encompass the majority of on-campus housing at the College.
"Though this number does not include students voting who pre-registered, I would venture to say that we had fewer students coming to the polls than we did polling absentee through early voting," said Smith.
"Because we had Early Vote Day, the voter turnout as a whole on Election Day itself feels lower," said Bowdoin College Democrats (BCD) Community Service Coordinator Katy Shaw '11. "However, the polls still remain popular."
Shaw, who drove BCD-sponsored shuttles to and from the polls on Tuesday, noted that there was a "pretty steady flow" of student voters to the three designated Bowdoin polling locations.
Some town officials, however, noted a general decline in the numbers of students coming to polling locations.
"On average, because of the absentee balloting this year, there have been fewer students coming into polling locations like Brunswick Junior High School," said District Warden Joe Zarioka.
Katharine O'Brien '12 arrived at Brunswick Junior High School around 1 p.m. to find the polls fairly empty.
"There weren't a lot of students at the polls when I went; most of the people I knew took advantage of Early Vote Day," she said.
Despite a redistribution of voting patterns, both Zarioka and Shaw agreed that voter turnout, as a whole, remained strong for this election.
Shaw, speaking for the College Democrats, said, "Bowdoin students seem to care just as much about this year's election issues as they did Obama."
Question 1: outcome and reactions
Proposition 1 was upheld, with 52.8 percent of Mainers voting to rescind the State legislature's May 2009 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine.
In Brunswick, however, the proposition was rejected by 67 percent of voters who said "no" to Question 1.
Proposition 1 was also soundly defeated in districts encompassing the Bowdoin community. In Districts 2 and 7, which encompass Brunswick Apartments and Coles Tower, 67.7 percent of voters voted "no" on 1. District 6, which includes the first year bricks as well as several social houses, saw 73.7 percent of votes reject the motion.
A large percentage of Bowdoin students backed the No on 1 effort, which gathered momentum from local, regional and national campaigns.
Recent alumnus Dan Robinson '07, a representative of the national LGBTQ organization, Family Equality Council, traveled up to Maine in the days preceding the election for last-minute canvassing and support. Robinson focused his efforts primarily in Portland and its surrounding Cumberland County environs.
"It was important to me to support the No on 1 campaign here," said Robinson. "Though my work with this election wasn't directly linked to Bowdoin, it was related to my passion for Maine that Bowdoin gave for me."
Students expressed their outrage and surprise at the election results. In the hours following the election, a Facebook event titled "Wear Black if Same Sex Marriage is BANNED in Maine (If Yes on 1 Wins)" appeared.
"The outcome of Question 1 has pretty much overpowered every thing else regarding the election," said Danny Chin '12.
"I am just so shocked and disappointed that Maine was not able to go past the current standard and move onto a new level of civil rights," said Leah Hughes '11.
Hughes, a Gorham resident, however, acknowledged the reality of statewide politics.
"If I think about this from the Maine perspective, I am less surprised about the election results," she said. "On the Bowdoin campus we were in kind of a bubble, being slammed with the No on 1 campaign, so I think people expected it to pass easily."
Statewide and municipal results
In local election results, Brunswick residents rejected proposed referenda ranging from tax relief initiatives to school district consolidation. Residents also voted to return At-Large Town Councilor Joanne King to the city council. King was re-elected with 65.8 percent of the votes.
Question 4, commonly known as TABOR 2 or the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, was rejected by 67 percent of Brunswick voters. The issue was also rejected on a statewide level, with 60.7 percent of Mainers defeating the measure.
The referendum sought to limit increases in state and federal spending and taxes by linking expenditures to rates of inflation and population growth.
Voters also rejected Question 2, a proposal to cut motor vehicle excise taxes. Sixty-nine percent of Brunswick residents voted "no" on the motion, while nearly three-quarters of Maine voters defeated the question.
Question 3, a measure to reorganize school district consolidation, was also defeated at the statewide level by 58.4 percent of voters.
Maine voters came out in favor of Question 5, a citizen initiative that aimed to liberalize the state's 1999 medical marijuana law. The motion, which asked voters whether they wanted to "change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions" in order to "create a regulated system of distribution," was approved by 72.8 percent of Brunswick residents and 58.6 percent of Mainers.
65.4 percent of Maine voters also approved Question 6, which would allocate $71 million for highway and transportation needs.
Rounding out the state ballot was Question 7, which asked residents if they would "favor amending the Constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify signatures on direct initiative positions."
Voters split over the issue, with 52.8 percent rejecting the initiative.