After months of rallies, voter registration tables and student government videos, many students were finally able to stand in line and cast their ballots on Tuesday.
Though midterm election turnout is usually low, especially among college students, Eleanor Linn, chairperson of Precinct 2 in Ward 3, noticed a surge of people at the polls today.
“This is a big turnout, especially for a midterm election,” Linn said. “We get a turnout like this for a presidential.”
The Daily’s gubernatorial survey of University of Michigan students reported 92 percent of respondents planned to vote in the election on Tuesday, despite the fact that only 14 percent of University students voted in the 2014 midterm elections. While voting in Ann Arbor, Business senior Sydney Watson said she finds a great deal of value in voting as a young person.
“If you don’t start voting when you’re young, you’re not going to realize the importance of it later on, so it’s important to vote now,” Watson said. “Also, particularly with the time that we’re in, a lot of people don’t take our voices seriously, so if we do have as much turnout as people say, we’re going to have a lot of changes in our government.”
Annah Kendall, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University, said she has always found voting important. However, she also recognizes how many Americans, including residents in her hometown, face barriers to voting.
“I’m a Latinx individual and I’m also someone who comes from a very rural place in America,” Kendall said. “The poverty rate in my town is like one-fourth of the general population. It’s kind of interesting to see how the people who work 50 hours a week, obviously voting is not on the top of their minds, they have their priorities, but in the meantime, they’re getting screwed over by the policies that happen.”
Prior to arriving at the polls on Tuesday, Engineering sophomore William Wang said he struggled to acquire credible, unbiased information about the candidates.
“It’s very hard to find good information out there,” Wang said. “I struggle with it myself. Everything is biased. You have to really put in a lot of effort to look to the back. There’s bias on both sides. I’ve yet to actually find many sources that don’t side with one side. The most neutral side is interviews where they ask questions on their stances. That’s probably where you can get the most information.”
Kinesiology senior Tyeisha Fuller said she is able to use social media as a jumping point for more reputable, detailed information about politics.
“Obviously there’s all social media that kind of sucks, so I guess really taking from social media but then going out and actually researching on your own and not just depending on other people’s opinions,” Fuller said. “But then also, like I said, my GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) emailed us a lot of different articles about the different candidates and things like that.”
Some out-of-state students, such as Public Policy senior Molly McInerney, choose to register to vote in Michigan because they think their vote will have a greater impact here than in their home state.
“I really care about climate change, female reproductive rights, refugees and immigrants,” McInerney said. “I’m from California but I vote in Michigan because I think it’s great that my vote counts a little bit more here.”
Whether motivated by frustration, excitement or a mixture of both, many students, such as LSA senior Jamie Murray, arrived at the polls with pragmatic optimism.
“We can make change,” Murray said. “There’s so many seats up in the House and Senate. It’s cool that we can actually change it.”