by Abigail Rosenberger
On the Nov. 3 election, Professor Politics Emil Nagengast won the position of constable as a write-in candidate.
There were 16 total write-in votes for the position with Nagengast earning three, and the rest of the write-ins each earning one. The three votes all came from Juniata students.
“It started with me going to vote and since there was just a write-in candidate for constable, I wrote him in, and then I talked to a few of my friends and they said, ‘Oh! I wrote him in too!” said Roberto Toro.
Nagengast had been unaware that he had received any write-in votes until one of his students mentioned it to him. “Darrin Williams said to me in class, ‘I heard that you won the election,’ and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
In an email to his current students, Nagengast wrote of receiving the news on Nov. 6. “I spoke with Dr. Plane today and he confirmed that I won the election, but he said that there are still some legal/technical issues that must be resolved before I officially become the Constable of Huntingdon,” wrote Nagengast.
The purpose of the constable is to protect the peace, specifically at local election voting stations on Election Day. Constables are considered law enforcement officers and are allowed to carry a gun and serve warrants while on duty.
“They are the peace officer elected to ensure that the polling place is peaceful, that people are allowed to vote, that people are obeying the election laws, that people are not campaigning where they’re not supposed to,” said Dennis Plane, associate professor of politics. “Every precinct has a constable. The reality in a place like Huntingdon is that most of these (constable) positions are vacant.”
“This new position is going to be very difficult for me, because on the one hand, I dislike the NRA. I don’t like hand guns, but I think it might be my duty to get a concealed weapon to keep the peace on campus,” said Nagengast.
Despite current opinions, there are legalities that may prevent Nagengast from being eligible to be constable. “If he won, I don’t know if he’s eligible to serve because he does not live in the 5th precinct of Huntingdon borough,” said Plane.
According to Plane, all election winners have been notified. “They sent out letters to everyone who won a position maybe 2 weeks ago,” said Plane. “I don’t know if he got that letter or not, but that would be the first indication. If he didn’t get the letter, maybe they determined he was ineligible or didn’t get enough votes.”
Currently, Nagengast has not received a letter confirming that he is eligible to fulfill the position of constable, but he remains optimistic. “Not yet, but I think those are bogus arguments. I think he (Plane) is just jealous.”
If he is offered the position, Nagengast still questions whether or not he will accept. “I’d have to wait and see what they require of me. Because on the one hand, Josh sent me information that said I have the right to carry a gun and to arrest people who disturb the peace, but Plane, again spoiling it, is saying he thinks there’s something about required training I have to go through. 180 hours of training and other things like that to actually be constable and I don’t like the sound of that. I think that if I won the election, I should just have the right to carry out my duties.”
Regardless of whether or not Nagengast is eligible or accepts the position, Toro and Plane believe the election sheds light on the importance of students becoming involved in local politics.
“Juniata students can have a big impact on local elections. If all the Juniata students were registered and they all voted the same way, they could basically select all the local offices, at least the Huntingdon burrow offices. We are a very powerful voting bloc, but we aren’t organized,” said Plane.
“As the head of college republicans here, I want people to go out and vote because your vote does matter in the long run and this just goes to show as a good example—he won with three votes, so that means anyone you pick could win,” said Toro.
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 5 News