Perpetual BuzzGAMBIER, Ohio (February 21, 2005) The story of Kenyon students inundating the polls and enduring 11-hour waits brought the College national recognition on Election Day 2004. The media attention has not quite died down. The newest headlines come in the March issue of Vanity Fair, where columnist Christopher Hitchins, who was on campus as a guest speaker just after Election Day, decries voting "discrepancies" and "irregularities" in Ohio.
Hitchens, known for his biting wit and scathing commentary regarding hypocrisy inside the Washington, D.C., beltway, found the Ohio polling results hard to swallow. But he found Gambier to be a "visiting lecturer's dream, or the ideal of a campus-movie director in search of a setting." In his Vanity Fair piece, he goes on to laud the Kenyon Review, the College's prominent alumni, and its well-mannered students.
Hitchens summarizes the saga of Election Day in Gambier, where the Kenyon student turnout overwhelmed the two available voting machines, one of which malfunctioned for several hours. Students, many of them first-time voters, persevered along with faculty members and community residents, bolstered by volunteers who brought them food, water, and umbrellas to ward off the rain. The last voters emerged at 4:00 a.m., applauded by their peers. Newspapers, radio and television stations, and Internet news sites throughout the country covered what may have been the longest voter line in the nation.