Marquette students flock to polls in Wisco. primary April 3
Students flock to polls for April 3 primary in Wisc.
The Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union is normally a bustling place – full of students meeting and eating, faculty, high schoolers visiting campus. There are tables set up by student organizations and interest groups. Every so often, however, the AMU serves a greater purpose. It becomes, as it did last Tuesday, a polling place for Milwaukee and Wisconsin elections. Many students, native to Wisconsin and not, voted in the Republican primary and other Milwaukee elections that took place April 3.
Troy Major, a volunteer who has worked at the Marquette polling place for about 5 years, said he enjoys watching students come to vote.
“The fun thing about coming down here is, because it’s students, they’re learning and it’s their first time (voting),” Major said. “Watching them going through this transition is a lot of fun.”
Another volunteer, Awmorreunce Broadway, who has worked at the Marquette location for about two years, estimated that about 65 percent of the people that vote at Marquette are students that live in the area.
Cleo Major, wife of Troy, and an active member of her community, said she volunteers at the polls because she knows the political process and likes to be a part of it.
Many students feel that voting in elections, both primary and general, is an important part of the election process and turned out at the polls last week to participate.
Aaron Gilling, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, was one of those students.
“I believe it’s important to vote in the primary election because you get to see a wide variety of candidates and you get to choose what you believe best represents you and your values,” Gilling said. “When we get to the general election, it’s more cut and dry, usually along party lines.”
Gilling also finds local elections extremely important.
“I think you have to start at the ground level first and we have more control over our mayor, over our city treasurer and all of that more than the presidential stuff,” he said. “As much as I would like to say that, you know, my vote counts in the presidential election, honestly it’s so miniscule compared to the vote that I have for mayor or something along those lines.”
Shannon Rohn, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, is a native of Illinois, but chose to vote in Wisconsin for the primary election.
“Wisconsin ... will be (more of a swing state) this election than Illinois is,” Rohn said. “I feel like my vote counts a little bit more here.”
Rohn, who is a supporter of Ron Paul, admitted that she knows he doesn’t have a chance at the Republican nomination, but said it is important to vote for a candidate if you feel strongly about their platform.
“If you have a party identification, I think it’s important to vote in a primary so that you get your voice heard,” Rohn said.
Kaellen Hessel, who is a senior in the College of Communication, is also not a Wisconsin native, but from New York state.
“I decided to vote in Wisconsin because I’ve spent three quarters of the past four years here, so I know more about Wisconsin politics than I do New York politics, and frankly, I care more about this,” Hessel said.
Hessel said she appreciates that voting is a right and a privilege and votes every time there is a chance.
“I think it’s important to vote any time we have the opportunity … and you should make sure you know something about the issues before you get to the polls … because it’s our right, it’s something that makes us different from other countries and generations of Americans have worked so hard to get to that … I think you just kind of owe it to the country to do it,” Hessel said.
Joshua and Katelyn Shultz, two married graduate students, went to the polls together.
“You have more control over the candidates at this level than you do at a general election level and it also just shows what kinds of values are important at a lower level like this,” Katelyn said. “For example if you vote for people like Ron Paul who might not get a cote up to the general election but still have values that are really important that don’t really get a fair voice at a general election.”
Her husband agreed and added that he believes that if you support a candidate, you should vote for them “regardless of what the election is, if it’s a primary or final election.”