Lines to vote keep students waiting

Students cast their votes on Election Day with a few hours to spare in the Holmes Student Center, Blackhawk Annex.

Sam Malone

DeKALB | Sophomore psychology major Alex Hendrick, spent about two hours waiting in line at the Holmes Student Center to vote in what he said has been the most important presidential election to date.

Illinois voter turnout has increased 20 percent since the last presidential election in 2012, according to the United States Election Turnout Database. This trend was the case at NIU as well, as many students like Hendrick waited in line on Tuesday to cast their vote.

Several students waiting in line expressed regret for not having registered sooner and were upset about the long wait.

Manuel Amaro, senior electrical engineering major, said he had no one to blame for the long wait other than himself.

“I’ve been waiting in this line for over an hour,” Amaro said. “It’s my own fault for waiting last minute to register here. I’m registered in Cook County, and I wasn’t going to vote at all, but last minute a friend guilt tripped me into it.”

Only one electronic voting machine was available in the student center, and several students said the line slowly moved. After hours of waiting, some students were turned down, as they could not vote before the polling stations closed at 9 p.m.

Despite the long wait, many students expressed how important it is to vote, particularly in this election.

“It’s important [in] this election [for people our age] to vote because of the choices you have,” Hendrick said. “Whichever one you want, it’s like choosing the lesser of two evils.”

With Wednesday’s results, many students and student organizations began to reach out in an effort to unify rather than spread the hate and fear that so many were feeling. Student organizations continue to rally and show support for those feeling lost with the results of this election.

The Black Student Union hosted an event Wednesday in the MLK Commons, and Kendra Wilkinson, director of academics and education, spoke on behalf of the group and said the event was an attempt to come together after the results.

“[The event] is the first step in anything,” Wilkinson said. “We must self care first, and that is for everyone. Anyone and everyone that feels any kind of way about what this means humans in general should come out and join us because no matter what, we love us.”

NIU will also be holding a unity demonstration called Love Trumps Hate at 5 p.m. Thursday in the MLK Commons to extend this message of compassion.

The event is an attempt to celebrate differences and support all cultures across campus, according the event’s webpage. Students in attendance will be able to write respectful letters to President-Elect Donald Trump expressing their concerns.