Panthers and Bulldogs unite to vote

By: Ar'darius Stewart
Nov 08, 2016

Claflin Students March to Polls

“The call is right, the time is now,” said the students of Claflin and South Carolina State universities as they joined together Tuesday for a march to the polls to cast their votes.

The march began at Kleist Circle on Claflin’s campus and ended at the polling place at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center on S.C. State’s campus. About 40 students participated.

“All year long, me and Riggins have been emphasizing that we are truly better together,” SCSU Student Government Association President Juwan Ayers said.

“A little over 40 years ago, many students from Claflin and State came together to march,” said Claflin Student Government Association President Dominique Riggins.

Riggins was referencing events surrounding the Orangeburg Massacre on Feb. 8, 1968. Two students from SCSU and one student from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School lost their lives amid protests surrounding racial discrimination within the community. Twenty-eight others were injured when state troopers opened fire on the protesters.

“They came together and they understood that there was something that needed to be done that was greater than them,” Riggins said. “With unity and being together as Juwan said, we can accomplish something and do great things.”

Riggins and Ayers said unity is a priority during their terms as SGA presidents.

Marching to the polls


Claflin University’s Student Government Association made sure some first-time voters cast ballots on Tuesday, gathering them for a march to the polls.

“It was interesting,” Claflin senior Kiana Ballard said. Ballard was part of the group of students who went over to South Carolina State University to the polling site.

“This has been the biggest thing since the last elections,” Ballard said. “This is important because Donald Trump is in the running and that’s dangerous for anyone who isn’t white.”

Ballard said Trump’s policies are blatantly racist toward minorities.

Her advice to fellow college students is to go out and vote. “Personally I didn’t want to vote because I didn’t like either candidate, but vote because at the end of the day, if you choose not to vote, that’s just one more vote in favor of Donald Trump.”

'I felt really good voting for the first time’


Those in line at the poll at South Carolina State University through the morning Tuesday made little secret of their support for the Democratic Party.

“I think they have more peace for people, and they know what they have to do. They agree more on discussions of what is going to help this country out,” 19-year-old Charles Burton of Detroit said. “And Republicans usually go against the black views with what they have to say.”

Important to be part of the process


As a first-time voter, Claflin University student Alissa Malbrough was looking forward to the process.

“I felt pretty good,” Malbrough said after voting on Tuesday. “It was really important for me to make sure that I could vote.”

T-shirts show contribution to election


On Tuesday, Nov. 8, people in Orangeburg County stepped out to exercise their right to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

“I just graduated from high school this year,” Maranda Sikes said. “I wasn’t able to vote four years ago, but I feel like this is a bigger deal than Obama being president two times in a row.”

Sikes said she not only came out to vote, she volunteered her time at the polls so she could create a positive and helpful atmosphere for all voters, especially the ones that are her age.

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for. I am just glad to see all people of all races come here today to cast their vote,” Sikes said.

In addition to Sikes, other voters seemed excited about their right to vote.

Two family members, Christopher Cumberland and Drew Cumberland, came to vote in matching T-shirts representing their Native American heritage and their right to vote as U.S. citizens.

“I didn’t want to vote until now,” Christopher said. “We just moved to Orangeburg about five years ago, and before that we were in Florida.”

“We wanted to step up. We are all minorities, and our opinion matters,” Drew said. “We need somebody in office that will at least pretend that like they like us.”

When asked about the matching T-shirts, they said they wanted something besides a sticker to show their contribution to the election.

“My whole family has a T-shirt,” Christopher said. “We will have these for the rest of our lives to show that we made a difference for this country, and for other people that are like us.”

Malbrough voted at a precinct in Columbia at 8 a.m. “I am grateful to have been part of the voting process.”

“I think that it’s been said that our votes don’t matter,” Malbrough said in reference to college students. “I think it’s important to be a part of that conversation.”

“I would just encourage anyone to go out and vote if they haven’t already to definitely be a part of decision-making of the country of who the next president would be -- especially for college students.”

Comments about Donald Trump ranged from Republican presidential candidate being stuck up and arrogant to simply not caring about people.

“It felt really good voting for the first time,” Burton said. “It made me feel like I was really making a difference. I am able to voice my opinions through the presidential candidate that I choose,” Burton said.

Tension-filled campaign ends with voting


After months of emotional, tension-filled campaigning, Americans went to the polls Tuesday to decide who will be their next president.

“My emotions are kind of negative,” Michael Shane-McClendon of Orangeburg said of his feelings coming into Election Day. “I think both are kind of not my top picks.”

“I think depending on who is elected, it can go either way,” Jermaine Felton said. “I think we’re going in the right direction if we vote for Hillary.”

 Addresing the issue of unity of America coming together after the election, Diane Fresno said,

“Yes, I truly believe it will. I have that faith that it will.”

 The three voters were casting their ballots at Prince of Orange Mall.

‘Vital for me to get out here and vote’


People patiently waited Tuesday for the chance to exercise their right as an American in voting at the County Council Chambers on Amelia Street.

Sierra Goodman, a biology major at the University of South Carolina and Orangeburg native of 21 years, was drawn to the poll in early afternoon.

“It was vital for me to get out here and vote today,” Goodman said. “This country is in some serious need. I am glad I let my voice be heard; hopefully all the Hillary supporters did as well.”

“Unlike Trump supporters, I’m not worried about my vote not being counted. Only a fool like Trump would make such a desperate remark,” Goodman said, “This shows Trump’s campaign will do and say anything to gain a headline.”

Some believe the election has been draining to witness and that inclusive Americans would not even fathom voting for Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

Chicago native Michael Kendrick, a senior business major at Claflin University, said, “This election process has been draining to witness. There is just so much negativity surrounding both candidates. In a perfect world, neither should qualify.”

Kendrick believes the media have done well spotlighting the scandal in this particular election, particularly when it pertains to Trump. Kendrick also stated Hillary Clinton is better for the economy and is more sensitive to the problem of college costs.

“This election has really shown the deeper lying issues within this country. When a man who is untrustworthy and has no sense of morality can breeze through the election process with the hate and vibe he has been giving off, it shows where the country’s heart is rooted.”

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