Coster said he believes Election Day in the United States should be a national holiday, and that the effort of smaller communities, like Lehigh’s, shows the country that Civic Engagement Day can be successful, productive and helpful.
Planning started weeks earlier, with campus groups educating students on voting and getting them registered, while also planning student engagements.
For students who “don’t know enough about politics,” Coster said, getting them engaged starts with having them think about what they care about. Once articulated, they can find candidates who align with their views.
Three important races were at stake in the state: a U.S. Senate seat, a U.S. House of Representatives seat and Pennsylvania Governor. With Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District a swing district, he said, students voting was all the more crucial. He said these elections could come down to a few thousand votes–a Lehigh-sized difference.
“Independent of what your political background is, this election and this area is important,” Coster said prior to Election Day. “The impact of every election for most Lehigh students has been really consequential, and this one is probably going to be the most important midterm in our lifetime. Any issue that you care about in the political space is going to be impacted by who gains power in this year's election. Students are going to be able to have an impact on how those issues will affect their Lehigh experience.”
Students had the opportunity to attend a talk titled “Elections Have Consequences” by political science professor Brian Fife, as well as attend a debate between College Democrats and College Republicans on the topic of free speech. Coster and Raihan Alam ‘23 mediated the debate between panelists Sam Denison ’24 president of College Democrats, and Miranda Asral ’23 vice president of College Democrats, and Stephen Kelly ’24 president of College Republicans, and Marietta Sisca, ‘23 president of College Republicans.