GREENSBURG, PA – On Tuesday, March 3, voters in 14 states and one territory (Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Utah, California, and American Samoa) go to the polls to select delegates for the Republican and Democratic Presidential Candidates.
“More than a third of all delegates to the National Democratic Convention are up for grabs on this single day,” explained Paul S. Adams, PhD, associate professor of political science and chair of the Behavioral Sciences Division. “On this same day, the Pitt-Greensburg Democrats and our campus chapter of Phi Sigma Alpha are organizing a mock presidential primary here on campus. Since Pennsylvania’s primary is not until April 28, this is an opportunity for students at Pitt Greensburg to demonstrate their preferences among the candidates and to learn about the primary process.”
Students will have a chance to weigh in on the current crop of candidates for both major parties. Casting of ballots begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. in Chambers Hall (150 Finoli Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601) on March 3.
The Pitt Greensburg Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, held mock presidential primaries in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Adams noted that the student were “pretty accurate in 2008,” showing strong support of then Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, the two eventual nominees for the Democrats and Republicans, respectively. Adams also shared that, in 2012, the students went with President Barack Obama, who was running unopposed for the Democrats, and then Governor Mitt Romney, who eventually was selected as the Republican nominee. The 2016 Mock Primary was less accurate though: the student vote had Senator Marco Rubio edging out Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, and Senator Bernie Sanders was the Democratic nominee.
Not only do students get to cast a mock vote for presidential candidates, but they also are provided information on voter registration, absentee voting, polling places, and other procedures of voting that are often challenges for first time and young voters. “Since 2008, the Pitt Greensburg Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha has helped more than 600 voters either register to vote or provided them forms to request absentee ballots, change of address, or change of party affiliation,” said Adams, who is the group’s advisor.