As early as 7 a.m. this morning, students who live on campus lined up outside of the Kirby Ballroom to cast their votes. Any on-campus resident was allowed to vote in the Ballroom regardless of if they were pre-registered or not, since Minnesota allows for same-day registration.
Volunteers from various organizations were on campus encouraging students to vote by offering them cookies and stickers and were answering any questions students may have had about voting.
Kate Mensing, who was working with voter protection through Minnesota’s secretary of state, was one of these volunteers.
“Basically what we are doing is we are standing around with absolutely no propaganda just trying to answer people’s questions, make sure that the lines are running smoothly and make sure there are no problems,” Mensing said. “If people have come to the wrong precinct, we tell them where to go and figure out registration stuff.”
For many freshmen, this was their first time coming out to the polls and to vote.
Freshman Emily Young, integrated elementary and special education major, said this is her first time voting in a presidential election.
“I am not nervous, just very excited,” Young said while eagerly waiting in line to cast her vote.
Young feels it is very important for students to vote.
“I think it is important because we are going to be living in the United States and it’s important to be informed and believe in the person who is in charge,” Young said. It was also freshman Ethan Bauert’s first time voting, and he wasn’t really sure if he was excited or nervous about the process.
“If you don’t go and vote then you can’t complain about what happens,” Bauert said. “Representation is why we are here.”
Although mainly freshmen and sophomores vote on campus, many students participated in the election through absentee ballots.
Freshman Abby Kuzara voted through an absentee ballot just three weeks ago.
“I just had to go to the local government get a slip and fill it out, and then three weeks later they sent me the ballot,” Kuzara said. “I knew it would be a little more work but it was worth it.”
On the other hand, some sophomores who live on campus are voting elsewhere. Elise Roche, Psychology major, had not cast her ballot yet but planned to later in the day.
“I’m extremely excited to vote,” Roche said. “It is important to vote because everyone’s voice matters. This is a very big election, especially for the presidential election as well as the two issues on the ballot (voter ID and gay marriage).”
The polling in the Ballroom will be open until 8 p.m. tonight. Although no voter numbers have been calculated yet, it is estimated that this turnout will end up being greater than it has been in the past.
BY SHANNON KINLEY firstname.lastname@example.org