Voter turnout is consistent

By Clarissa Hinshaw

DeKALB | Voter turnout has been similar to the 2012 presidential election on campus at early voting locations.

Early voting in DeKalb County began Oct. 17 but did not open on campus until Oct. 24 in the Holmes Student Center, Blackhawk Annex. Early voting polls will remain on campus until 5 p.m. Saturday, then reopen on Election Day, Nov. 8.

“I’m very happy with the voter turnout in DeKalb County so far for early voting,” said Douglas Johnson, DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder. “Turnout has been strong and steady. I would say that people are taking advantage of the nice weather, the fact that there’s no lines and the ease of voting at their own convenience. The 2008 and 2012 elections were very busy elections. I would say [this turnout] is comparable.”

Deputy Registrar Ed Abell said he has seen an increase of voters from past elections on campus. Abell said he has been pleased with the voter turnout.

“It’s been pretty good,” Abell said Thursday. “We’ve had [more than] 250 voters so far. It’s probably 30 percent more so far [than in past elections]. It’s still early though.”

This is the first presidential election for many college students like junior psychology major Suzanna Newman who is voting in her first election.

“I think that it was quite amazing [being able to vote for the first time],” Newman said. “This is a huge election. There’s so much at stake here that hasn’t been at stake before. The climate of our country politically, educationally, mentally [and] emotionally is changing… I am going to be able to cast a vote into history. [The Supreme Court] is huge in deciding where our country goes legally.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Feb. 13, and President Barack Obama’s nomination for a new justice was rejected by Republicans in Congress. Four more justices will be entering their 70s and 80s during the next president’s term, so the next president could be appointing as many as five new justices for a lifetime term during his or her presidency.

Newman is in a women’s gender theory class in which students learn about the 19th amendment, which gives women the right to vote. She said the ability to vote is important.

“The importance of voting speaks for itself,” Newman said. “If you’re going to be the kind [of person] who refuses to vote simply because you feel your vote doesn’t matter, then you obviously do not understand how the democracy in our country works.”