For the very first time, Collegeville has a Democrat for mayor and four Democrats on the borough council, giving theDemocrats a majority, according to an email sent by the Ursinus College Democrats. Aidsand “Ace” Wright-Riggins will also be Collegeville’s first black mayor.
Wright-Riggins won the election with 56.24 percent of the vote, compared to incumbent Al Stagliano’s 43.76 percent. The borough council results saw Cathy Kernen receive 14.88 percent, Marion MicKinney receive 14.01 percent, Shannon Spencer 13.75 percent and Mat McKnight 13.93 percent. The four Republican candidates each received percentages between 10 and 11.
President of the Ursinus College Democrats, Charlotte Rohrer, believes the fact that the UC Democrats were more organized this year may have motivated students to vote. She said, “Especially with [mayoral candidate Ace Wright-Riggins], the UC Democrats had a lot of events . . . I think we did a lot with events to really get students involved. I think people aren’t [usually] really informed, [but] we really got [the] word out.”
The inclusion, for the first time, of a voting site on the Ursinus campus also could have been anadded factor. For this year’s election the Collegeville 2 voting site was moved to the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center.
Rohrer said, “I definitely think that the move helped . . . People are familiar with the Kaleidoscope: It’s on campus and people might think where is it? Oh, I know it.”
Robert Botti, judge of the Collegeville 2 voting site, also noticed an uptick in students voting this year with 57 students voting in this election. He also said that this election in general had a higher turnout with 259 people voting at the Kaleidoscope polling location. “[That’s] around 100 more than usually vote at this location,” he pointed out.
Botti also explained the logic behind the change in location. He said, “We decided to move [the polling location] because St. Eleanor’s [Church] decided that they didn’t want to be a part of [the polling], and it only made sense to move it here.” He noted that Ursinus’ non-profit status was a factor in the move since the Board of Election prefers to host polling stations in a non-profit.
Senior and president of the Ursinus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, Hannah Engber, thinks it’s great that more students are exercising their right to vote. Engber said, “We sent out an email to encourage all students to get out the vote… We definitely believe that the best way to make change in our democracy is to participate in these elections.”
Engber also wanted to acknowledge the other organizations that encouraged students to vote and may have impacted the higher voter turnout. She said, “I also have to give credit to the other political organizations on campus as well as UCARE and USCG for getting voters registered in [Montgomery County] and pushing to get out the vote.”