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Sunday, December 03, 2023

UW-Madison students turn out to vote in important spring election

Students cast ballots for candidates in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, Wisconsin State Senate, Madison mayor, as well as several referendum questions.

On April 4, University of Wisconsin-Madison students cast their vote at several polling locations across campus such as Memorial Union, Gordon Dining and Event Center and Dejope Residence Hall.

“I think this is an important election that not a lot of people always turn out for, and I think it really impacts Madison and the Wisconsin community,” student voter Madison Eiler said.

The April 4 election ballot included votes for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race, Wisconsin State Senate candidates and Madison mayor, as well as referendum questions. 

The most notable results include Judge Janet Protasiewicz winning the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election creating a liberal majority and Satya Rhodes-Conway being re-elected as Madison Mayor.

“This is a really, really important election that will have greater effects,” said student voter Abigail Nicki. “It’s important to be a young person and have your voice heard because the majority of people who are voting are older it seems.”

Some students and poll workers said voting in this election is important because UW-Madison students are a big part of the greater Madison community.

“It’s an important election — every election is important for students to turn out and have a voice in their local politics because they are just as much a part of this community as they are their home communities,” student poll worker Tabitha Houghton said.

Eiler echoed this sentiment.

“I think there’s so many students on our campus that even a small turnout of our students can make a big difference,” she said.

Student voter William Diaz emphasized how voting is not only important but an easy way to get involved with local politics. 

“I think it’s important to do my civic duty,” he said. “It’s easy — there’s really no excuse not to.” 

Other students explained that they voted because they were passionate about certain issues and candidates. 

“I wanted to protect people’s rights — protecting abortion, LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, all the things like that,” said student voter Lindsey Neumann of her vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

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Student voter, Autumn Hutchens, voted because she was especially enthusiastic about a specific candidate: Janet Protasiewicz

“One of the Supreme Court candidates is pro-abortion, and I believe that will be very helpful if she does get the place in the court,” she said. 

While much attention has been brought to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race, other races such as Madison City Council could also influence students’ lives. 

“One of the candidates — his name is Charlie Fahey — for Madison City Council, he supports affordable housing, especially for students,” said Hutchens. “Considering that housing and rent is going up every single year and some students just can’t afford to live in Madison — that’s some[one] I support.” 

While Charlie Fahey did not win the election in District 8, winner MGR Govindarajan also advocated for making Madison housing affordable for students. 

Though the election was specific to the state of Wisconsin, its results have national implications. The Wisconsin State Supreme Court has the power to adopt new legislative maps in Wisconsin which have the potential to flip party control for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“I think there’s a lot more that we can do as students and as citizens, but I think that voting is a really important first and essential step,” Diaz said.

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