Last year, Jerry Falwell Jr. declared that he wanted to see Liberty University “go down in history as the college that elected a president” and set about registering students to vote, canceling classes on election day, and busing them to the polls.
Liberty senior Caleb Mast, chairman of the College Republican club at Liberty University, worked past 4 a.m. Tuesday putting up campaign signs on campus and at Heritage Elementary School.
He returned to Heritage — the voting site for on-campus Liberty students — by 6:45 a.m. to greet student voters arriving by the busload.
As many as 3,200 LU students were eligible to vote. Mast said he kept an unofficial tally at Heritage and counted upwards of 800 student voters when he left at 5 p.m. More than 2,300 votes were cast at the precinct altogether.
To encourage a high turnout, Liberty cancelled classes and ran buses between the campus and the voting precinct every few minutes. The school did not keep track of how many students went to the polls, said Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.
And while there was no presidential election at stake this time around, Mat Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law, declares that their efforts were responsible for delivering the local House of Delegates race for the Republican candidate:
In dramatic fashion, Virginia ushered in three pro-life, pro-family, conservative Republican candidates — Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Conservative Republican candidates picked up five state House of Delegates seats, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Scott Garrett in Lynchburg, who unseated the Democratic incumbent, Shannon Valentine. Valentine was ahead by about 1,400 votes after 19 of the 20 precincts were counted. After the final precinct votes were counted at Heritage Elementary School, Garrett jumped ahead by 210 votes. The stunning victory is attributed solely to the voting block of the students, faculty and staff at Liberty University. Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraged the students at Liberty to register and vote locally, resulting in more than 3,000 new voters. The majority of the students vote in Precinct 20 at Heritage Elementary School. The students voted for pro-life and pro-family values and for limited government.