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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Student Voting

Unofficial figures indicate approximately 46 percent of UW-Madison students voted in Tuesday's election. This is up from about 36 percent in 2010.

Campus area sees strong student voter turnout

Months of campaign speeches and voter registration drives culminated to nearly half of UW-Madison students turning out to vote during Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, which is up from about 36 percent in 2010.

Unofficial figures for voter turnout in the five main campus wards indicate approximately 46 percent of students living in those areas voted Tuesday, a proportion somewhat higher than expected, Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said.

Though campus wards leaned definitively in favor of Mary Burke, Resnick said support for Gov. Scott Walker was slightly stronger than anticipated, with students giving him about 40 percent of the vote.

In an effort to encourage participation in the democratic process, UW-Madison professor Kristin Runge made attendance to her Tuesday lecture optional to give students extra time to vote. She said approximately a quarter of her 104-person class took advantage of the offer and several students said the additional time made a definite impact on their decision to vote.

Runge also devoted a few minutes at the start of class to discuss where and how to vote, information she said she was surprised not all students knew.

“I thought that might be a good way to get them involved and get them in the habit of being good citizens,” she said.

As a first-time voter, UW-Madison freshman Signe Bedi said the process went smoothly and he was glad for the ability to participate.

“I think a lot of people are always like, ‘My vote won’t matter in the long run, there’s no point in me voting,’ but I think that, even if you think that, it’s important to have your voice heard,” he said.

Bedi volunteered for Burke’s campaign earlier in the semester and registered himself prior to the election.

Others, like UW-Madison junior Tayler Blake, made the spontaneous decision to vote on Election Day.

“I wasn’t really planning on it,” Blake said. “I hadn’t done any research ... I’d rather not vote than vote for something I don’t know anything about.”

Blake said the influence of his peers on social media ultimately persuaded him, and he researched the candidates’ views on major issues before going to the polls.

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Joining the effort to encourage and enable voting, Union Cab offered free rides to polling places, a service they pay for themselves and feel is important to provide to the community.

“We’re not asking anybody to vote any one way in particular, we just want to get people to vote,” Union Cab employee John Lamb said.

By 6 p.m. Tuesday, Union Cab had made about 240 trips to Madison polling places.

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