Penn State Students On Ballot As Potential Delegates

This story was written by Brittany Wilson, Daily Collegian
For a few Penn State students, the Pennsylvania primary not only means voting for a favorite presidential hopeful, but also seeing their own name on the ballot.

Four members of the Penn State College Democrats and one student running on the Republican ticket will appear on Tuesday's ballot as potential delegates for their respective party conventions.

Sean Meloy, president of the Penn State College Democrats, is running for a delegate position and said he has been working toward this election since last year.

Last fall, Meloy and others running for similar positions had to fill out forms, which pledged support to a specific candidate. They then had to be selected by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and receive 250 signatures from registered Democrats within the district to be able to appear on the ballot.

Jameela Conway-Turner, a member of the College Democrats also running for a delegate position, said they needed to gain the support of the community in order to receive a spot at the Democratic National Convention. Seth Bender, who is running for an alternate delegate spot in the Republican National Convention, said he also had to collect 250 signatures to appear on the ballot; however, the Republican Party did not require him to back one particular candidate. Candidates from both parties are looking forward to the events that will unfold today.

"I'm pretty excited, but I'm not nervous," Bender said. "Whomever the people vote for, I will respect it."

Meloy said he is honored even to be considered because he is so young. While Bender agrees with Meloy that he is on the younger end of the delegate age range, he said he thinks it is important for younger people to become involved in these elections.

"I am very passionate about politics," Bender said. "Young people need to be represented in these races as much as anyone else."

Meloy, along with Julie Brennan, will be running for alternate delegate positions, while Conway-Turner and Steve Lucas are running for what Meloy described as the "much-coveted delegate positions." This means that Conway-Turner and Lucas will become delegates if they receive a certain percentage of votes.

Meloy said if Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., wins, he and Brennan would more than likely go to the Democratic National Convention, but would not be able to vote. However, Conway-Turner and Lucas would go to the convention as full-fledged delegates.

Although the road to becoming a delegate has almost ended, it was neither short nor easy. Conway-Turner and Meloy said they had to brave the harsh January weather and go door to door in order to obtain the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot.

"People are much more prone to sign for you when you just walked through a blizzard," Meloy said.
© 2008 Daily Collegian via U-WIRE