WEB EXTRA: Mayoral election draws little interest

While most students said they voted absentee for their hometown candidates, current Mayor Anthony Williams victory over Republican candidate Carol Schwartz in Tuesday’s mayoral election in the District went virtually unnoticed to most on GW’s campus.

Though most students aren’t residents of the city, voter registration laws allow students to use absentee-applications in order to vote for their home state.

As a result, many students feel they lack a voice in local DC politics.

“I haven’t felt the need to keep up with local issues,” said sophomore Zakiya Pierre.

Senior Josh Singer ran unopposed for a two-year commissioner seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission of Foggy Bottom. The organization is involved with the zoning and security concerns of the community.

Singer reacted quite happily to gaining the position.

“I look forward to working with students and improving relations between students and Foggy Bottom residents,” Singer said.

Vice President for Government Relations Bernard Demczuk was pleased with student involvement in local DC politics and the re-election of incubant mayor Anthony Williams.

“The university has a good working relationship with him, with the exception of the campus issue,” Demczuk said.

Some students felt Schwartz did not pose any threat to Anthony Williams’ re-election.

“Why would I bother voting for it when (Anthony) Williams has it in the bag,” said freshman Dan Gershewski.

Williams campaigned primarily on the accomplishments of his first term, more homes for working-class families, larger pay for teachers and better city wide sanitation control.

Some students said Williams is more likely to support GW in the future, specifically the possibilities of expansion.

“Both candidates seem unqualified, but I will support (Anthony) Williams because he supports GW expansion,” said freshman Scott Farbish.

Candidate Carol Schwartz has voted against GW expansion efforts in the past.

Mark Hershfield, a law student and SA senator, said GW graduate students demonstrate a lack of local political involvement.

“It is my civic duty to go to the polls,” Hershfield said, calling graduate student voter turnout “pathetic.”

Voter-registration efforts have taken place throughout the GW campus preceding election day and the Program Board has sponsored several registration drives during the month of October.

“Any influence we can make towards raising awareness that you should vote is a good influence,” said sophomore Paul Heithoff, a member of the PB Political Affairs Committee and leader of the registration drive.

The PB’s effort was aimed specifically at unregistered freshmen.

“Kids come to GW for this sort of stuff. We don’t expect many who haven’t registered,” said Heithoff. “Absentee ballots represent a big hastle for GW students.”

Heithoff said this years registration drive was the most successful in the group’s history. In past years, PB has sponsored several smaller drives at university-events.

An estimated 125 students were registered during the effort, 60 at Fall Fest.

Voices For Choices also sponsored a registration drive in the computer-lab of the bottom-floor of the Marvin Center. They used the computers to have students register electronically and to print out absentee voter-applications.

Voter registration must be completed at least 30 days to an election generally.

The College Republicans and College Democrats have campaigned aggressively for their parties’ candidates though neither organization stressed involvement in the DC mayoral race.

“Our campaigns around the East coast have really paid off,” said senior Alycia Piontkowski, vice chair of the College Republicans, noting that the Republicans are now in control of both houses of Congress.

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