How a massive spring break exodus could hurt Bernie Sanders at the polls

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Like young voters in Iowa and New Hampshire before them, people under the age of 30 who cast ballots in Nevada last weekend overwhelmingly Felt the Bern. The Sanders campaign has taken it as a point of pride that so many of its supporters skew young, but there may be trouble on the horizon when it comes to turning that enthusiasm into votes.


According to an analysis from Politico, more than 500,000 students from 14 different states will be on spring break during their state's primary or caucus. And while the piece seems to suggest that Sanders' most likely supporters will be in vodka-induced blackouts instead of caucusing, the basic, less condescending point is that logistics may be tough for students who are registered to vote through their campus address.

For students who can't or don't want to stick around to vote, that leaves early voting or absentee ballots, which can still present challenges depending on where you live.


As Politico notes, the closest early voting center for Ohio State students is a 40-minute ride on public transit. It's open on weekdays during business hours, but that's also when many students are in class. The center is open on Saturdays, too, but there's only one left between now and when students start heading home for spring break.

Student volunteers for the Sanders campaign are trying to organize ride-shares to help turn out the vote, but there are only so many people they can fit in a carpool. “I don’t know how we’re going to get thousands of people out there,” Sarah Lukowski, one of those volunteers, told Politico. “We’re going to try our best, but it’s a real challenge.”

In Michigan, first-time voters will have to show up in person to their city clerk's office with an ID in hand if they want to cast an absentee ballot, which campus volunteers also see as a logistical barrier to turnout. Students who are in the midst of midterms and preparing to head home for a week may feel hard pressed for time to stop into the clerk's office.

“We’re hoping the work we’ve done will help minimize the loss of turnout,” said 19-year-old Elia Pales, a Michigan State University student who volunteers with the Sanders campaign. “But there’s only so much more we can do.”


The Sanders camp does not seem to be sweating the possibility too hard, though. Senior campaign advisor Tad Levine took a 99 problems approach to the spring break threat, telling Politico: “I’m not concerned any more about that than I am about 50 other factors that will influence the outcome of the elections in these other states."

When asked for comment Hillary Clinton's campaign sent the following video response:

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