Shippensburg University students were among the millions of Pennsylvania voters to cast their ballots Tuesday, in what some political observers are calling one of the most important and compelling presidential elections in decades.
Shippensburg residents and SU students made their way to the polls beginning at 7 a.m. on a cold and blustery day. Polls were scheduled to close at 8 p.m., but anyone who was in line to vote before that time could still cast a ballot.
SU and ShipVotes partnered to provide rides to the polls beginning just before 8 a.m. until the polls closed.
Katy Clay, a retired SU history professor, arrived at the polls at 6:30 a.m. to set up a table for ShipVotes and the ACLU. Clay is a founder of ShipVotes, the nonpartisan voting coalition at SU, and also served as an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Election Protection representative during the 2020 election. Clay stepped down from her ShipVotes leadership position when she retired.
By noon, Clay said, about 70 university students voted at Vigilant Hose Co., the polling station for Shippensburg Township.
According to Clay, about 30 to40 of the students arrived by buses from the university. She said a lot of students were first-time voters, who found the process to be easy and were excited to be there.
“They were really happy to have voted,” she said.
ShipVotes works to educate SU students on the importance of the civic duty of voting and provides nonpartisan voter resources year round.
Clay emphasized the importance of showing up to every election, not just the national election every four years. She said local government elections also have an impact on voters’ lives.
“Every single year there is a really important election,” Clay said.
Jean Foschi, a Cumberland County commissioner, stopped by the firestation as part of her visits to polling places across the western part of Cumberland County. Foschi said the polls were busy, adding it was excellent to see as voting is how people’s voices are heard.
As a commissioner, Foschi is tasked with checking in with poll officials on election day. She said her job is to “deliver a fair, accurate and reliable election.”
Foschi reinforced the reliability of the election process. In Cumberland County, electronic and paper records are kept, according to Foschi. Voters can view the paper ballot before submitting their electronic vote, Foschi said. If the voter submitted his or her ballot through the mail, it will be kept secure and counted as quickly and accurately as possible, she said.
Looking at the line of voters at the firehouse, Foschi said it was refreshing to see so many young people participating.
“If you really want things to happen, if you want change, if there are things that are important to you, if you want your government to pay attention and listen and move forward in a way that will benefit you, then you have to come and vote,” Foschi said. “This is where it starts.”
Foschi encouraged voters to participate and said their voices are a piece of what moves things forward by letting their elected officials know what they think.
“If you want something done, you have to not only make your voice heard when you vote, but make your voice heard to your officials,” Foschi said.