Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass for Bernie Sanders shuttles students to polling stations on Super Tuesday

By Stuart Foster

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(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)

In front of the modernist architecture of the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, students holding signs endorsing Bernie Sanders for president of the United States asked people passing by if they voted yet.

On Tuesday, members of the UMass for Bernie Sanders group volunteered at the Haigis Mall, shuttling students to their polling stations in order to participate in the 2016 Massachusetts presidential primary.

“We want to get as many students involved in the political process as possible regardless of who you are voting for,” said Brennan Tierney, a sophomore majoring in legal studies.

Volunteers of the group asked UMass students if they were interested in voting in the Massachusetts presidential primary election and used passenger cars to transport them to polling stations around the town.

Tierney, who is an organizer of the UMass for Bernie Sanders group, said he had seen between 50 and 75 students accept a free shuttle ride since he started volunteering for the day.

Tierney said he thought it was important for students on the UMass campus to vote as soon as possible in order to become involved with the political process as soon as they can.

“I think that it is important that kids get involved and we start raising our voices to make sure our demands are met,” Tierney said.

He added that in addition to the shuttle service on Super Tuesday, UMass for Bernie Sanders had been spreading awareness for the Massachusetts primaries and Sanders’ presidential campaign by registering students to vote until the date on which they were no longer allowed to and by participating in a debate with supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Feb. 23.

Tierney also addressed the opposition some people hold to voting, which can result in some viewing the process as ultimately ineffective and incapable of creating change.

“That kind of cynical perspective is a negative cycle that feeds into itself,” Tierney said. “It just perpetually will get worse if that’s your viewpoint.”

Tierney said he thought the Massachusetts primary would be extremely close and that he hoped Sanders would succeed in the state.

Josh Barton, a freshman majoring in psychology who was also volunteering at the Haigis Mall on Super Tuesday, said he volunteered for a similar shuttle program earlier during Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Massachusetts senate election.

Barton said the system of American democracy sets the country apart from many other nations throughout the world and that it is important for Americans to give their democratic input during an election.

“One of the most important things in this country is that we have these civil liberties, and if we don’t take advantage of those we’re not unique,” Barton said.

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

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