HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — With the results in, young voters at James Madison University learned about the outcome of Tuesday's midterm elections in a discussion hosted by the school's Center for Civic Engagement.
On Wednesday night, a panel, consisting of political science professors, analyzed the nationwide results based on their areas of expertise. Topics ranged from the Democrat's takeover of the U.S. House to how media outlets interpreted the results.
"I think it's helpful for students to understand the significance of the election results to be able to put it in a broader context of national political trends and to help them understand why we encourage them to vote and to participate in elections and politics and to become informed," said Dr. Kathleen Ferraiolo, a professor of political science.
She noted an interest among students about the 2018 elections.
"Maybe because President Trump can be a very polarizing figure," Dr. Ferraiolo said, "and so people are curious about the impact that his presidency has on voters and on turnout."
Dukes Vote, a campus group which hosts activities to encourage college students to vote, reported a nearly 50 percent increase in participation at the JMU precinct at the Convocation Center on Tuesday compared to 2017.
Matthew More followed the election results as they rolled in Tuesday night.
"I care about what happens in this country," he said.
The JMU junior attended the panel and asked questions about the outcome.
"I wanted to make sense of what was going on," said More, who wished there was more dialogue on campus about voting. "I think that's a problem. I think there isn't enough communication about it."
In the latter half of the discussion, students were questioned on what motivated them to show up to the polls. Responses included a dislike of U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart's divisive rhetoric and the handling of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.
A Harvard poll before the election found 40 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds indicated they were likely to vote this year.