What is Super Tuesday?
On March 3, 2020, one of the most pivotal days in the 2020 election cycle occurred: Super Tuesday. On this day, about one-third of the delegates were accounted for in a total of fourteen states, including California and Texas, the states with the two largest delegate pools.
Although Super Tuesday doesn’t define who will win each party’s nomination, it gives candidates a boost in name recognition and increases (and in some cases decreases) voter confidence in candidates. In fact, the primaries run through June, giving presidential candidates about four months to change their strategies, or keep them the same, to win their party’s nomination.
The date was also important for federal, state and local elections, including Senator, Representative for District 31, Supreme Court Judge, and others. For those registered in Texas, the last day to vote was the primaries on March 3. Students had the opportunity to vote on campus at the Howry Center from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. The only requirement was either a state-issued ID (i.e a driver’s license), a passport, or a voter ID.
This year, voter turnout was not only critical for the primaries, but also for the possibility of future polling locations on campus.
“We’re hoping that people will turn out both on campus and like people who live around campus, like, people who aren’t students, just a part of Georgetown because if we do get high enough [voters] then we can have locations in the future like for the general election in November, and that world be really awesome because then students don’t have to drive they can just walk; stay on campus,”said Emily Gilby, Co-Chair of the SU College Democrats.
The goal for Tuesday was roughly 500 voters, the amount that voted on the campus in the 2018 midterms.
Southwestern held a Civil Discourse Festival, a celebration of free, civil speech across party lines, mending the gap between polarized ideologies, on Super Tuesday. The event was free and available for the entire Southwestern and Georgetown community. Student organizations were handing out free food and shirts; a raffle was also held, giving out airpods, a Herschel backpack, and a kindle fire.
An important feature of the festival was the collaboration between the SU College Democrats and Republicans. Both student led organizations wanted to sponsor a sense of bipartisanship and create dialogue across political parties. Laura Rativa, President of the SU College Republicans, noted that for the primaries, the competition was less concentrated between the parties and more within parties. Olivia Stankus, Co-Chair of the SU College Democrats, agreed, and added that voter turnout and voters being knowledgeable on how to vote was also important.
Rativa and Stankus supplied websites to help students do research before Super Tuesday.
- Vote411 (shows who is running for what and their policies; the most useful)
- The Texas Tribune; is really good for local elections
- Ballotpedia (has a quiz to help determine which candidates align closest to personal policy preferences)
- Sample Ballots to help voters prepare for election day
Mainly, both organizations are trying to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, marked with civil unrest.
Stankus commented that there was “ a lot of anxiety surrounding [students] being expressive about [their] political opinions”. A car was even keyed in protest in 2016.
Laura believes that this year will be more peaceful with both organizations leading through example. “Olivia and I reflect how the College Republicans and College Democrats are feeling about this election….We’re not feeling competitive with each other…. We want what’s best for the country, both parties do,” said Rativa.