Amherst voters side with Bernie Sanders, John Kasich in Massachusetts primary

By Morgan Hughes

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich won their primaries in the town of Amherst Tuesday.

The turnout in Amherst for the Democratic race, where 5,293 residents who chose the Democratic ballot voted for Sanders, was significantly higher than in the Republican race, where Kasich won the town with just 220 residents voting for him.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton finished second in Amherst with 2,663 Democratic votes, but was declared the winner of the overall Massachusetts primary late Wednesday night.

The Republican race in Amherst was very close, as Marco Rubio received 206 votes, only 14 fewer than Kasich. Donald Trump received 175 votes in the town, Ted Cruz received 59 and Ben Carson received 24.

A steady flow of University of Massachusetts student voters came in and out of Wildwood Elementary School Tuesday afternoon to vote in the open Massachusetts presidential primary.


Massachusetts is one of 11 states to participate in “Super Tuesday,” the primary election date with the most participating states. Massachusetts, as a state which consistently votes for the Democratic candidate in the general election, is important in deciding which candidate wins the Democratic primary.

Poll worker Ed Ferry, 69, an Amherst native, said he was pleased by the voter turnout at Wildwood Elementary School Tuesday. By 1 p.m., he said almost 400 voters handed in their ballots. Ferry added he estimated about one-third of voters up to that point to be college students and that half of those students were first-time voters.

Many of the students interviewed after voting at the elementary school said they voted for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders because they felt he was the only candidate who had consistently represented the same viewpoints throughout his life and campaign.

Dominique Altamari and Danielle Branscomb, both freshmen psychology majors, said they voted for Sanders because his values align the most with theirs.

“His women’s rights values are better than Hillary’s,” Branscomb said.

“He has always stayed true to his values since (early on in his political career),” Altamari added. “It just feels like he is fighting for us.”

Altamari said she discovered Sanders early in his candidacy because of the way he took the Internet by storm.

“I’m pretty politically active, especially on Facebook. It was pretty hard not to see stuff about Bernie online since he became such an internet sensation,” she said.

Brianna Crosby, a junior political science major, said she registered to vote at the student-led Bernie Sanders rally held Oct. 27. She added she is drawn to Sanders because of his strong stance on social issues.

“I like to think that social equality is one of the most important things to consider,” Crosby said. “Bernie definitely believes in that.”

Alexander Tuazon, a junior operations and information management major, was one of two students interviewed whose voter registration had not gone through. While Tuazon was unable to vote in this primary, he said he will be sure to register again for the general election in the November.

(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)

The son of two immigrants, Tuazon said he was enthusiastic about his support for Sanders because he thought the other presidential candidates do not support immigrants as much.

“I come from a hard working family with parents from two separate foreign countries,” Tuazon said. “They came here and made a living on their own doing what Trump says they stole.”

Tuazon said of Hillary Clinton that “her policies are not concrete” and that “you just can’t trust a word she says.”

Gabrielle Mathews, a freshman political science major said she voted for Clinton because of her extensive experience in political office.

“I would rather have Hillary because she’s proven she’s good at handling things under pressure,” Mathews said. “Bernie’s experience in politics in less tried.”

Hannah Singleman, a senior marketing and psychology double major, said she voted for former Secretary of State Clinton because she would like to see a woman become president.

On the other hand, Yuval Abraham, a freshman economics major and a registered independent, said he allowed himself to have an open mind to all candidates before voting in the primary.

“I try not to label myself as one party. I was open to see what values I have and which candidate aligns best with those values,” Abraham said.

He noted that he feels that people shouldn’t “rely indefinitely on the government” for things like higher education and healthcare. Abraham found that Rand Paul aligned most closely with those beliefs and voted for him despite the fact that Paul suspended his campaign in early February.

Stephanie Richards, a junior legal studies major, said she is glad so many students are turning out in the polls.

“It’s important because we are the generation stepping up into positions to make these choices for our generation and future generations,” she said.

Wildwood Elementary School was one of eight polling areas in Amherst. Many students registered to vote with addresses in the dormitory buildings in the Central Residential Area were assigned to this district.

Morgan Hughes can be reached at [email protected] Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster.