Due to the large number of students that make up Boston’s overall population, City of Boston officials hosted polling locations on Boston University’s campus at 101 Cummington Mall and Myles Standish Hall for Tuesday’s elections.
More than 400 people voted at Myles Standish Hall, and at least 50 people voted at 111 Cummington Mall, according to the polling clerks at both sites.
Steven Gallanter, a clerk and election official at BU’s polling station at Cummington Mall, said on-campus polling booths are usually empty because most people living in the area are not year-round residents or American citizens.
“Other polling booths that I’ve worked at, like Jamaica Plain, have massive turnouts,” Gallanter said. “But the out-of-state students are more concerned with school policies.”
Katherine Cornetta, assistant to the Dean of Students, said DOS strongly encourages students to register to vote in Boston. She said Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore believes voting is just as important for students’ learning as is taking classes.
“There is a responsibility to take part in the elections process and make decisions about how you want to be represented in government,” Cornetta said. “Being a part of how the government runs, how the civic process goes on — that is an important thing that all students need to learn moving forward. That’s why we put a lot of effort into making that possible for students.”
Cornetta said BU put significant effort into making it easy for students to vote in Tuesday’s election. Voter registration cards are available in the DOS office, Student Government office and Registrar’s office.
“Students can register to vote in either Massachusetts or their home state through us, and if students want to fill out a voter registration card, we will send it for them so that they don’t have that hassle and don’t have to pay the mailing fee,” Cornetta said.
Cheryl Crawford, executive director of MassVOTE, said she is especially passionate about motivating young people to vote. MassVOTE has put on multiple programs around Boston in order to educate student voters.
“We know we have a bunch of new voters, so we’ve made sure to give them opportunities to see who the candidates are and what the issues are,” Crawford said. “The sooner you get young people civically engaged, it becomes habitual with them. It’s a very viable group of young people and they should be involved in the process.”
Allegra Barnes, a College of Arts and Sciences senior who voted on Tuesday, said she finds voting to be extremely important. She said it is a vital way in which one can have a role in forming the society they live in.
“My mom always said, ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain,’” Barnes said. “Voting is how you have a say in the bigger world around you.”
Corey Pray, a CAS freshman, said he is very politically active and he voted for the first time in an official election on Tuesday.
“I’m not originally from around here, but I worked on a campaign here recently and saw what issues are affecting the city of Boston,” Pray said. “I think it is a civic duty to vote, and every vote counts. I just turned 18 two days ago, and I am really excited to be able to vote today.”
Michael Gutman, a College of Engineering freshman, said he voted on Tuesday because he wanted to exercise his rights.
“I decided to vote because I like to think I have an affect on politics and the decisions being made for my city and country,” Gutman said.
Dexter McCoy, president of SG and College of Communication senior, said although the large out-of-state student population in universities around Boston plays a role in how many students vote, still too little attention is put on local politics.
“A lot of people like to participate in the national elections, but it’s the local elections that will really matter most in our daily lives,” McCoy said. “These local races are very important, and it’s very important that students vote in them.”