Election Day at Penn State: What Reasons Did Students Have to Come Out and Vote?
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tuesday was Election Day across the country and at Penn State. The primary voting location for most Penn State students was in Heritage Hall in the HUB, where the end of day turnout reached record highs.
Amalendu Bokil, a freshman majoring in computer science, was excited to vote in his first eligible election.
“I think the power of the people is in local elections, so I wanted to come out and support,” Bokil said. “It was kind of cool that I had power over who could stay in office and who had to leave.”
Simon Bodak, a freshman majoring in finance also participating in his first election, feels like it was his civic duty to participate in the process, even on an “off year.”
“I really feel like voting is sort of underappreciated among young people, especially regarding off-year elections,” Bodak said. “I just wanted to do my civic duty and take the time to go vote.”
Alexandra Fischer, a junior majoring in digital/print journalism, felt that it was important to make sure she had a say, expressing how easy it is for others to do research beforehand then go out and vote.
“I came out to vote because I think it’s important that people do that,” Fischer said. “I feel like we’re in a time where not a lot of people think it’s very important to vote. I took 20 minutes out of my day to do some research and then I came to vote. It really wasn’t that difficult.”
Fischer said that while she is not originally from the State College area, she still felt like she needed to vote in a community where she lives a majority of the year.
“I do think it’s important to stay informed about where I live, whether it be on campus or off campus and in the area,” Fischer said.
Although a large majority of Penn State students do not live in State College year-round, it is still important that students vote in where they live for a majority of the year, according to Zach McKay, the chair of the governmental affairs committee for UPUA and a junior majoring in economics.
“Students are here for nine months out of the 12 of the year, and that’s an incredible amount of time to be here represented by these borough council members, by other elected officials,” McKay said. “To have a say in who those people are is critical.”
Students agreed with McKay’s sentiments that it’s still important to register and vote for State College- and Centre County-elected officials, even though it’s not necessarily their permanent home.
“I’m here most of the time,” Bokil said. “Nine months out of the year, we’re living on campus, so I figured that this is the place I should vote.”
“Whether this is your permanent home for however long you’ll be here, four years, five years, maybe more, maybe less, you should be considered with what happens around you.” Fischer said.
Michael Sneff is a senior majoring in digital/print journalism and political science. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.