UMass students jam Amherst precincts, many voting for first time

AMHERST – At the Bangs Community Center in Amherst, University of Massachusetts students Teana Gravel of Attleboro and her friend Lauren Stanwicks of Framingham had already waited 45 minutes to vote and were slowly making their way inside to the voting booths.

More than 1,100 UMass students had turned out to cast ballots by 3 p.m. in precincts 4 and 10, said Lucas Gutterman of MassPirg. He was there helping students locate the right precincts. Those are the two predominant precincts for students who live on campus. Turnout in other Western Massachusetts areas was also high.

Buses started shuttling students from the campus to the polls at 11 a.m. He said MassPirg headquarters told him more students had voted by 3 p.m. Tuesday than they had four years ago.

It was Gravel’s and Stanwicks’ first election.

“I’m really pumped,” Stanwicks said. “It feels really cool.” She and Gravel were supporting President Obama and she said that ballot questions were really important, too. She supported legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and the – the death with dignity question. She said her grandparents suffered. “It was horrible,” she said watching them die.

In the 38 years he has lived in Amherst, Victor Guevara said he had never seen such a line to cast ballots. “It was a really tight election,” he said, offering a plausible explanation.

Austin Dale of Wakefield and a UMass student said he had helped register students to vote and only about half seemed interested. It was his first election as well. “I’m thrilled,” he said to be voting. “I’m excited for Elizabeth Warren. And I’m a big supporter of cannabis reform.”