UA students bring in votes for Bernie in Democratic primary

CW+%2F+Hannah+Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

Rebecca Griesbach | @rebach97, Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, and Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW

While Alabama saw overwhelming support for Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary election this Tuesday, University of Alabama students voting on a Democratic ballot tended to side with his more progressive opponent, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

This report on student voting records is based solely on unofficial polling results from the UA Recreation Center. Only 9% of total registered voters got out to vote, with about three-fourths requesting Democratic ballots. 

Here’s the full breakdown for the Democratic ticket:

Candidate

Michael Bennet

Joe Biden

Michael Bloomberg

Cory Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Julian Castro

John Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Tom Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

Marianne Williamson

Andrew Yang

Votes Cast

1

127

16

0

0

0

0

4

0

212

0

64

0

0

This particular station brought in receipts for 586 total votes. Exit polls from 11:30 to 1 p.m. showed an early Sanders lead on the Democratic ballot. Within that time slot, 11 voters chose a Republican ballot, compared to 26 who chose a Democratic ballot.

Delegates for Sanders, the leading candidate at the on-campus polling station, included two UA students, Sam Badger and Bert McLelland. While they did not secure those spots in the overall vote, they led delegate votes at the Rec Center. 

Among Republican voters polling at the Rec Center, less than 5% chose candidate Bill Weld over Trump, and 11% were uncommitted. Bradley Byrne and Jeff Sessions beat out televangelist Stan Adair and judge Roy Moore in the Senate race, with Sessions taking the lead.

Among both parties, 57% of Rec Center voters sided with the rest of the state against Amendment One, which would change the structure of the state school board.

The votes came in amidst a UA Parking Services blunder early Tuesday morning, which stirred attention from civil rights lawyers and journalists when monitors issued tickets to voters who parked at the Rec Center without a permit. There is little-to-no street parking near the area.

Ben Leonard, the president of the UA chapter of Vote Everywhere, was able to handle the situation alongside UA Parking Services.

“Vote Everywhere UA received reports early Tuesday morning that UA Parking Services was ticketing people who were voting at the UA Recreation Center,” Leonard said. “I was concerned that this would decrease voter turnout, since many students and community members who vote at the Recreation Center do not have the required parking pass, and any news that they could be fined for voting would discourage people from going to their polling place.”

Leonard sent an email to UA Parking Services and followed up over the phone. After speaking to a representative for a few minutes about the situation, they agreed to void all tickets issued Tuesday morning and cease ticketing at the Rec Center for the rest of the day. 

In the end, 18 people had tickets that were eventually voided. But that didn’t stop Twitter from doing its thing. 

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Joyce Alene, a UA law professor and MSNBC contributor, both retweeted a message from Vote Everywhere UA that announced all tickets would be voided. Clarke noted that voters in similar circumstances could contact 866-OUR-VOTE for help. 

“It appears that a parking monitor did not realize that it was election day, which would normally change ticketing protocol at the Recreation Center,” Leonard said. “We are thankful that Parking Services resolved the issue so quickly.”