Nearly 500 students and nearby residents entered their votes in the presidential primary elections on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Piedmont room in the Student Center Commons. While voters at many other Atlanta precincts reported problems with long lines and a lack of voting terminals, waiting time was minimal at the Tech precinct.
Statewide for the Republicans, former Ark. governor Mike Huckabee garnered 33.9% of the vote, edging Ariz. senator John McCain’s 31.6% and former Mass. governor Mitt Romney’s 30.2% who has since ended his campaign. The Democratic race lacked any such closeness. With 66.4% of votes cast, Ill. Senator Barack Obama trounced N.Y. Senator Hillary Clinton, who collected 31.1%. All figures are unofficial until certified by the Ga. Secretary of State and county election superintendents, which will be completed sometime next week.
Individual precinct results are not available, but in Fulton County, Obama’s victory was even more pronounced, securing 75.0% of the vote to Clinton’s 24.1%.
Many voters at the Tech precinct, less than 500 feet from Yellow Jacket Park where Obama held a rally last April, voted for the Ill. senator because of his inclusive message.
“Obama says ‘We can’, where Hillary is all about ‘I can’,“ said one voter, a male 2006 graduate of Georgia State University.
Clinton and Obama continue to fight a close battle nation-wide for the Democratic nomination, with Clinton holding a 818-730 delegate advantage after Super Tuesday (with 2,025 delegates needed to win).
On the other hand, McCain has emerged by now as the Republican front-runner with 680 delegates to Romney’s 270 and Huckabee’s 176 (with 1,191 needed to win).
While Huckabee was able to emerge victorious state-wide, he finished third in Fulton County with 18.4% to Romney’s 40.6% and McCain’s 36.7%.
Romney’s local support may have been boosted by a rally he held in the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, sponsored by the College Republicans, but evidently it was not enough to propel him to victory in the state and sustain his candidacy.
For selecting their preferred candidate voters had a variety of reasons, some strategic and some ideological.
“I took a survey on MyFoxAtlanta.com and it matched me to McCain,“ said a female fourth-year Management major.
“I chose Romney because he’s a businessman, a good leader, smart, conservative, and not McCain,“ said one voter, a male 2007 Tech graduate.
Strategy also entered into voters’ minds in the Democratic race.
“I normally vote Republican, but I feel like McCain has that nomination locked up and I’d rather see him run against Obama,“ said a female 1996 Tech graduate.
In total, 496 people voted at the Tech precinct. While many students counted themselves among that total, many others showed up intending to vote but couldn’t because they had not successfully registered or were registered elsewhere.