Election Night unfolds at Notre Dame
KELLY MEEHAN, NICOLE ZOOK, MARY KATE MALONE | Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Editor’s note: Three reporters from The Observer tracked students’ interest in the Election Night returns. 8:15 p.m. We depart The Observer’s office to investigate how various student groups monitor coverage of this evening’s election. 8:26 p.m. 203 Navarre StreetWe arrive and are greeted by a black cat lurking near the curb. We start to wonder if this is a sign of bad luck, but continue to the doorstep. At first the house seems very quiet. However, loud screams from behind the door indicate otherwise. This is not only an election celebration, but also a 21st birthday celebration for Notre Dame senior and homeowner Brian Agganis. Agganis is hosting 30 Democratic and Republican friends.”We started at 7 [p.m.], and we are going to go until much later here, until we go to Corby’s,” said Agganis. At 8:32 p.m. the room explodes in cheers as the South Carolina electoral votes are awarded to President Bush. Each candidate has now won nine states. Senior Hans Biebl does not cheer at this announcement. “I just really wanted to get together tonight and drink for democracy, because no matter who wins, the system wins,” Biebl said. 9:00 p.m. Smokey Bones Barbeque and GrillRestaurant greeter Brenda Cyr informs us that “well-behaved” Notre Dame students had occupied over half the restaurant watching the election results. Students wrote letters to soldiers in Iraq in exchange for free barbeque chicken wings. We run into senior class president Darrell Scott, who informs us that over 100 senior class members showed up for the two-hour event, which had just ended. He emphasized thatit was a bi-partisan gathering – “Not hardcore people either way, which demonstrated solidarity among the senior class,” said Cyr. 9:15 p.m. 610 Coronation Gardens, Castle Point ApartmentsDespite the fact that the apartment is decorated predominately in Bush signs, about half of the 30 expected guests are Kerry supporters. “It’s too early to tell, but things are looking good. At 2 a.m., I’m calling it quits,” said California resident and Kerry supporter Brian ConckrightThe partiers hung a map of the United States, which they said they planned to color in at 10 p.m. when most of the electoral votes are in. However, we decided not to wait. We grabbed some of the many varieties of desserts provided and headed on our way.9:45 p.m. Haggar College CenterThe Saint Mary’s College Democrats are gathered to watch the election results unfold. The group of eight girls is planning to watch until about 11 p.m. Club President Sarah Staley spent her day doing last minute campaigning for Kerry. “I really appreciate being together when we are all so nervous,” she said. Club Treasurer Lyndsey Bergen skipped all her classes today to go vote in her home state of Michigan. “I will be heartbroken if Bush wins,” she said. “I am joining the Peace Corps next year, so it will be a good excuse for me to leave the country.”10:15 p.m. Morrissey Hall In Morrissey Hall alone, we find one party for Bush, another for Kerry and one room divided. We decide to split up to tackle this hall.Room 432 – Junior Brian Wrona is hosting about 10 friends – half from swing states Ohio, Florida and Iowa – and a life-size cardboard standee of the president to watch the results roll in.”It’s a Bush party, as indicated by the cutout,” he said. “We anticipate a big George W. victory. Of course, we’re not having an actual ‘party’ party, as obviously indicated by the garbage can full of empty bottles.”Room 110 – Kerry supporters are watching two televisions simultaneously: one shows CNN, the other The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Host Nick Guzman explains his philosophy regarding the election’s outcome to the group. “I hope if Kerry loses, it’s fair and no shady stuff happens,” he said.Room 221 – Kelly cannot help but notice signs for both Kerry and Bush pasted on the door. Despite their voting preferences, Chris Brennan, a Democrat from New Mexico, and Nick Schott, a Republican from Ohio, have not had any heated arguments.”In fact, if Kerry wins I am going streaking,” Brennan said. 10:35 p.m. Badin HallBadin’s television room resembles a middle school slumber party. Pizza boxes, pop cans and pillows are dispersed throughout the lounge. Twenty-five girls wearing pajamas and munching on snacks watch intently to monitor the progress of their favorite candidate. Freshman Cassie Belek, a Kansas resident and political science major, was not afraid to criticize President Bush’s opponent after hours of watching the coverage. “John Kerry’s face looks like it’s made of Play-Doh,” she said.10:45 p.m. LaFortune Student CenterWe bypass two large groups of students quietly waiting for election results in the Coleman-Morse Center in favor of the large, normally rowdy television lounge in LaFortune. Almost 50 students perch in front of the two TVs, but the room is strangely silent. “People have been mostly doing their work or pretending to do work, like me,” said senior Mark Guest. Fellow seniors Robby Davidson of Indiana and Nick Lescanic of Pennsylvania reserved front-row seats starting at around 6:30.”I think it’s been pretty standard,” Davidson said. “There haven’t been any surprises. Things are going pretty well in Pennsylvania for Kerry … there’s a lot of red on the screen, but I’m not getting too worried.”Lescanic is not worried either. “I think this is all really sad. It sucks that we don’t have anybody really good to vote for. We can vote for an idiot or a bigger idiot,” he said. “It’s probably not going to be decided for another month anyway, so…”11:03 p.m. We return to The Observer office, weary from all the election partying but none the worse for wear. The general feeling off-campus was one of celebration, no matter which candidate the party was for. On campus, however, the students were hushed and pensive. The office is tense as the night wears on. Only time will tell which side prevails. These reporters say, may the best candidate win.