While Election Day shook up the political spectrum in Binghamton and New York, a low student turnout at the Binghamton University polls meant little input from on-campus BU students.
Up for vote in Vestal, the voting district for students registered on campus, was the Vestal superintendent for highways, along with state Supreme Court Judge and six state constitutional amendments. According to the Broome County Board of Elections, only 36 of BU students voted on campus.
Proposition 1, which passed, will allow for the construction of seven additional casinos in New York state. The vote passed 57 percent to 43 percent.
Advocates say it will bring jobs and stimulate the economy, while critics say it will feed addiction and detract from more pressing matters. However, many students remained indifferent.
“I don’t think it makes a terrible difference, it’s just a source of income,” said Colton Coreschi, senior majoring in biology. “People have gambling problems but that’s more of a problem for the people than the casinos.”
Propositions 2, 3, 4 and 5 also passed.
Prop. 2 entitles veterans to extra civil service credits. Prop. 3 authorized local governments to exclude debt regarding sewage plants from their debt limits. Prop. 4 allows the government to settle land disputes with private owners and allows them to expand with other parcels of forest. Prop. 5 authorized the government to allow NYCO Minerals to expand mining areas in Lewis and Essex counties.
Proposition 6 did not pass, but it would have increased the age limit of judges serving. It lost 60 percent to 39 percent.
In the highway superintendent race, Brock Leonard beat Kenneth Fortier by about 5 percent. Justice Eugene Faughnan was elected to state Supreme Court Justice over Judith O’Shea.
Though the 36 students who voted on campus could not vote in the Binghamton mayoral election, those who were registered off campus could. Some students still felt that the campaign was not relevant enough to their lives to vote.
Conor Stillwell, an undeclared freshman, said the mayoral candidates failed to connect with students.
“They didn’t advertise their campaigns to students,” Stillwell said. “If they had, maybe more people would’ve shown up. I didn’t even know there was a poll center on campus.”
Republican candidate Rich David won the mayoral race, beating out Democrat Teri Rennia. David will succeed Mayor Matthew Ryan, a Democrat.
With a difference of 472 votes, Steven Saltz, vice president of the Binghamton College Democrats, said that students could have shifted the election.
“I’m disappointed that Teri Rennia lost the election, especially in a city that leans Democrat so heavily,” he said. “Rich David won by only a few hundred votes, and I know that there are more than 500 Binghamton University students living in the city. We need to come out in greater numbers next time, because we can really tip the scales if we try.”
But many students said they had little concern for local elections, saying they didn’t vote out of inconvenience, a lack of interest or feeling little connection to the area.
“I only know it’s Election Day when it concerns the president because it’s in my face,” said Bryan Montes, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience. “I don’t feel particularly connected with this area, I’m from Long Island.”
Sean Kelley, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said he was just as indifferent.
“Who cares who the mayor of Binghamton is?” he asked.
David, who was a former deputy mayor, is a businessman and the owner of many Downtown buildings and businesses such as Family Dollar and co-owns Terra Cotta Catering. Out of 8,216 voters, 52.9 percent voted for David and 47.1 percent for Rennia.
Some members of the Binghamton community questioned David’s impartiality.
“I think he’s a business man, so his policies reflect what we normally see from business men,” said Denise Yull, assistant professor of human development. “I don’t think he’ll be socially conscious and engage the community, but I really hope he does.”
David’s platform revolved around heightening police presence, making Binghamton more economically appealing, increasing transparency in City Hall and improving infrastructure. However, his background troubled some members of the University community.
“The mayor of the city can’t own half the city, it seems a bit self-serving,” said Josh Levine, an undeclared sophomore. “The police force being improved is important though, because a lot of Downtown is really unsafe.”
Despite the low voter turnout, both candidates said they wanted to engage the students with the community.