07
Nov
12

Obama reelected for second term

Jeremy Mikula and Ryan Moye

Obama reelected for second term

CHICAGO — As the final projections came in and supporters at McCormick Place erupted in applause Tuesday night, the news became clear: President Barack Obama had been reelected for a second term.

Projected to capture 303 Electoral College votes, Obama defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, who was projected to win a total of 206 electoral votes.

In giving his victory speech, the president said, “I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”

Around 10:15 p.m. local time, NBC News declared the president had won a second term. That projection was quickly followed by similar ones made by Fox, CNN, and ABC.

After the projection, the president’s campaign tweeted, before releasing a longer statement on barackobama.com:

“I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen… Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.”

Meanwhile, the Republican Party was projected to retain control of the House of Representatives.

Confetti, as seen from the press area, is released into the air at the conclusion of the president’s victory speech. (Photo by Jeremy Mikula)

Obama declares victory

Just after 12:37 a.m. Central Time, the president and the First Family took the stage at McCormick Place to momentous applause.

“America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class,” Obama said in his victory speech. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.”

Obama, who by 8 a.m. Wednesday held a 2.6 million lead in the popular vote, cited immigration reform and stopping a “reliance on foreign oil” as two goals he hopes to work on in his next term.

The president also congratulated his counterpart in what he called a “hard-fought campaign.”

“We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future,” Obama said. “In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.”

Battleground States

Obama supporters and campaign volunteers wave American flags stage right at McCormick Place on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to celebrate the president’s reelection. (Photo by Jeremy Mikula)

Key to the president winning reelection was his success in a number of swing states – particularly Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which combined totaled 30 electoral votes for Obama, as well as victory in Virginia and a projected win in Ohio.

Obama won New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia and Nevada while Romney picked up North Carolina and Indiana. By 11:00 p.m. local time, results in Ohio and Florida – 18 and 29 electoral votes respectively – were still too close to call, however the president was later projected to be the winner in Ohio, while also having a slight advantage in the Sunshine State.

Those results remained largely consistent from the 2008 election when Obama – then the junior senator from Illinois – won Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Ohio en route to grabbing 365 total electoral votes over Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Romney concedes election

Gov. Romney initially declined to concede the election, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Natasha Korecki reported Romney’s campaign wanted to see “firm numbers from Ohio, which was still tallying some precincts late Tuesday. Numbers in Florida were also still out.”

Romney would however concede the election to the president shortly after 11:55 p.m. Central Time. Speaking in Boston, Romney offered his congratulations to Obama.

“This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said. “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

Romney also spoke of looking to teachers, religious figures, parents and guardians, “job creators,” and also Democrats and Republicans to “put people before the politics.”

“I believe in America. I believe in the people of America,” he said.

Atmosphere

Those in attendance – mostly supporters and volunteers on the president’s campaign – began filing into McCormick Place around 7:30 p.m.

An empty McCormick Place seen mid-afternoon Tuesday hours before it was filled with supporters and campaign staff. (Photo by Jeremy Mikula)

The convention center was euphoric as each of the results came in – the president’s supporters cheering loudly when projections were made in his favor and booing for projections that favored Romney. Songs such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder and “We Take Care of Our Own” by Bruce Springsteen received considerable play over the PA system.

Some supporters came from all over, including Ivo van Sprosen, who is from the Netherlands.

“Well first of all it’s good for the United States I guess to have this president, but for the rest of the world because of his foreign policy,” said van Sprosen, who said he works in local politics. “The atmosphere was really electric and he had a great speech”

Celebrities and fellow politicians also attended the victory party at McCormick Place, including Chicago Mayor and former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, will.i.am, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alfre Woodard and Angela Bassett.

16
Oct
12

The Presidential Election as it affects DePaul University’s Black Student Union

With the presidential election about three weeks away, students around campus are anticipating re-election. African-American students, other wise know as the “black vote,” share an interesting perspective on how the election effects the African-American community.

Taylor Moody, a fourth-year political science student at DePaul University and president of the Black Student Union, shares her thoughts and what impact the election has on the African-American students.

Q: With voter registration ending October 9, what efforts has the BSU made to get more students registered to vote?

A: At events, we have made sure to have people at tables to get people registered. We also had a co-sponsorship with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on campus…along with the Student Government Association (SGA). We want to give more students of color especially, more of an opportunity to be registered or at least know where to go to be registered.

Q: In the 2008 election, Pres. Obama’s most trusted and largest group of supporters were young people. In this election, some of the Obama enthusiasm has died down. Why do you think that is?

A: With any movement where people are excited, the excitement dies down after a while. People are not as motivated because I guess in their eyes, there has not been tangible progress for their own personal situations. I also think people were expecting some things that were kind of unrealistic for a president to do in only four years.

Q: Some people argue Pres. Obama has not done enough for the African-American community. Currently, African-American unemployment among those 16-19 years old is at 39.9 percent. Do you think he has done enough for the black community?

A: Barack Obama is the president of the United States…it is very unrealistic for us as a people to expect one man to represent us. Can he do more [for us]? Yes, I think he can do more. We can all do more to help causes like the unemployment rate.

Q: Do you think enough has been done to garner the attention of young voters in swing states like Virginia and Florida?

A: I don’t know necessarily. I would hope so.

Q: What do you think about the incorporation of celebrities and the Hip-Hop community in the re-election campaigns?

A: I hate to be so cynical, but I think it’s a great thing. I just think no one should ever blindly endorse someone. A celebrity endorsing a candidate can either be a positive thing or a negative thing, depending on what kind of celebrity the individual is.

Q: Recently, Pres. Obama attended a fundraiser hosted by rapper, Jay-Z and wife, Beyoncé. What message was supposed to be conveyed there? Do you think it was contradictory to dine with the “one percent” when Obama’s campaign is centered around strengthening the middle class?

A: I didn’t take much offense to it just because when you think about elections and campaigns, money is one of the most important things. Where are you going to get that money from to get that message to the middle class? From people that have the most money. Having a benefit with mostly “one percenters” is not necessarily the best thing to do, but if it is necessary, it is necessary.

DePaul BSU is now selling bracelets for $4. Various members of BSU will be selling them in the Lincoln Park Campus Student Center.

24
Sep
12

New polling technologies aid in voter security

With an increase in absentee ballots expected for the November, 6 election, the Cook County Clerk’s office has purchased a new mail-in ballot counting machine, said Noah Praetz, deputy director of elections.

“We process one ballot every 4 minutes,” said Praetz while speaking to a graduate class at DePaul University. When it used to take 10 minutes to count ballots by hand, the new $216,000 machine has proved to be more efficient.

Noah Praetz In Reporting for Converged Newsrooms Class on 9/17/2012

“We expect and are ramping up for a much greater portion of voting than four years ago,” Praetz said, “there were only about 25,000 absentee ballots returned I think we can even double, triple, quadruple that.”

Praetz, gave a general overview about how the Cook County Clerk office operates during the election process. However voting, was just one of the topics brought up. Absentee voting was a hot button issue among the students. Absentee ballots in the state of Illinois appear to be in greater numbers this year. In addition the process of absentee voting has become easily accessible.

“All you have to do is go to our website, and get the application,” Praetz said.

Absentee voting gives people who might not be able to make it back to their home state, a chance to vote at their current residence. People such as college students and the homeless, can go out to certain polling areas and vote.

“There’s no excuse,” Praetz said.

There are various ways to send information to the clerks office. Voters can mail in their applications or send them  via the internet. Absentee voters also need to know to bring two forms of identification which show your current address, unless voting earlier. If voting absentee, know that you have a 28 day registration period, before the election with a seven day grace period that runs through the saturday before the election.

“Many polling stations have been equipped with new voting machines and safety technologies,” Praetz said.

“We had to invest in a new infrastructure for counting ballots,” Praetz said.

The new machines were paid for by a $25 million federal grant from the 2002 Help America Vote Act, Praetz said. The new devices come with new safer precautions, while voting. Both physical and cyber security have also been increased throughout the voting process.

New machines, and security upgrades in polling areas, currently restrict a paper trail. There are also forensic audits that are taken during election to help monitor the software with the polling machines. This is done to ensure that each machine is running smoothly and warn voting stations of any viral or physical threats.