Rain not a deterrent for young voters

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Paolo Cisneros

The University YMCA served as one of 31 Champaign polling places on Tuesday, but you might not have known it by looking.

The Primary polling place closest to the Quad saw only a handful of mostly student voters trickle in over the course of the morning.

“Out of three pages of people who registered to vote with the College Democrats, only twelve have showed up,” said Abby Erwin, sophomore in LAS and volunteer for Students for Obama. “We were expecting about 125 voters (from both parties) by noon, and so far we’ve had about 50.”

Consistently rainy weather played a role in deterring some voters from heading to the polls, but most felt confident that student participation in this election would surpass the status quo set by recent presidential primaries.

“I feel like more people are inspired to vote this time because they feel more passionate about a lot of the candidates than they have in the past,” said Michelle Bollaert, a sophomore in AHS who voted for Mitt Romney.

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Supporters of Democratic candidates agreed.

“I think people care more about this election than they have about the past few,” said Carrie Weisman, senior in Business who voted for Obama. “For a lot of people, there’s more at stake this time than there was in 2004.”

Those issues are what motivated some students to brave the rain and make it to the YMCA to cast their vote.

“I think the economy is going to be really important for a lot of students that are getting ready to leave school and head out into the workforce,” Weisman said.

Katie Sleyko, junior in LAS who also voted for Obama, agreed that the economy would play an important role in determining who won the greatest number of college votes.

“Lots of grants and educational funding have been getting cut in recent years, and I think that’s important for college voters,” she said.

For others, the war, the environment or health care were among the deciding factors that students took into account while casting their ballots.

As the day went on and the rain continued to fall, voter turnout picked up slightly at the YMCA. A representative reported having received 226 voters when the polls closed at 7 p.m.

Despite the morning’s relatively low numbers, voters remained optimistic that student involvement in this election would be high.

“I think there’s a new energy for young voters this year,” said Alyssa Kritzman, senior in LAS. “What makes this election important is that it’s our opportunity to make a statement. This is our way of saying we want change.”