Students give Democrats the edge in Town of Geneseo voter registration

Due to the recent surge of student registrations, the Democratic Party is now the majority for the Town of Geneseo for the first time in its history.

According to the Livingston County News, a flood of last-minute student registrations hand delivered to the Board of Elections tipped the scales. Geneseo now reports 2,161 Democrats, 1,912 Republicans and 1,331 blanks. Of the roughly 1,100 registered students in Geneseo, the majority have registered Democratic or blank, according to Republican Election Commissioner Gerald Smith.

The high number of student registrations is due in large part to informal student organization Think Globally Vote Locally and the Student Leadership office. Senior TGVL member Fiona Murray reported that about 700 students registered through the organization and about 300 were registered through the Student Leadership office.

"We are non-partisan, and we in no way encourage students to register as Democrat or Republican," Murray. "But whatever we did, it's still a big deal. This just shows that [students] do make a difference."

Livingston County Republican Chairman Lowell Conrad expressed his discomfort with students' impact on the community to the Livingston County News, and said that individual students are not a permanent part of the community and should thus vote in their hometowns. TGVL has been fighting such opinions since its formation in an attempt to make students realize their importance in Geneseo.

"If people voted in their hometowns, TGVL wouldn't need to exist," said Murray. "But they just don't. We live in this community and we have as much a right to vote here as anyone else."

Sophomore Andrew Crowder said he understands why Geneseo residents would not want students to vote here.

"A lot of issues decided by town elections don't have anything to do with us," he said.

Crowder, in agreement with others, described the student demographic as being, "more idealistic than most," and was not surprised that many students registered as Democrats.

Sophomore Ben Relethford also said he believes that students may be likely to register on the left due to the fact that Democratic media "appeals to students more."

Regardless of party affiliation, a large turnout of student voters will send a message to politicians and the community.

"I hope it's a wake-up call to the town and to the school that engaging the student population in Geneseo would definitely be worth politicians', or anyone's, time," said Murray. "We do matter and we definitely can affect an election if we vote."