Campus, News

On-campus polling locations see high midterm turnout

Kilachand Hall was one of two polling locations on campus open for voters Tuesday. SERENA YU/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University students and other Boston residents cast their votes at polling stations across campus for the midterm election Tuesday.

The total ballot count at the end of the voting period included 598 ballots cast at 111 Cummington Mall by 299 voters, as well as 12 provisional ballots. Kilachand Hall, the second polling station on campus, saw 1826 ballots cast by 913 voters.

Mark Trachtenberg, the precinct election supervisor at the 111 Cummington Mall polling station, said he was delighted by the high turnout rates.

“It’s gratifying,” he said, “because this precinct has the reputation of being low turnout.”

Trachtenberg, who has been an election supervisor for the past 15 years, said his past experiences have indicated that students are uninterested in voting, especially in local elections, but he has seen a recent surge in political activity among young people.

“We had respectable turnout even last year for the mayoral race, the local elections and for the primary,” he said. “There are times when it’s been almost like a tsunami, so I’m pleased.”

Sarah Paco, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was excited to vote even though this wasn’t the first time she had voted in Massachusetts.

“I voted my sophomore year in 2016, and that was really important, but I feel like, if anything, this election might be more important,” Paco said. “So I’m really excited to take part in that.”

She said the ballot questions being voted on were important to her, especially Question 3, which considered repealing a 2016 state law passed to protect transgender people from discrimination in public places.

Several other BU students at campus polling locations said voting on Question 3 was one of the most important aspects of casting a ballot for them.

CAS sophomore and Los Angeles resident Jared Flippen said he chose to register in Boston because he wanted to vote “yes” on Question 3, which he has campaigned and canvassed for.

“I think that Yes on 3 has major ramifications for the rest of the country,” Flippen said, “and so I thought that voting in Massachusetts could potentially have more of an impact than voting in L.A.”

Flippen said he is registered as an independent voter, but he voted for all the Democratic candidates on the ballot. He said the issues most important to him include climate change and poverty, and that he thinks the Democrats have better solutions for these problems than Republicans.

“I researched every candidate, even Republicans,” Flippen said. “So I did research on everyone. I was doubtful that I would vote for a Republican, but I wanted to give them a fair shot.”

CAS senior and Easton resident Eleni Constantinou said she registered to vote in Boston because she thought it would be easier and she prefers to vote in person.

“It makes me feel more important,” Constantinou said, “It would be easier to send a ballot and just mail it, but I don’t know, I like getting my sticker and feeling like I voted.”

She said voting makes her feel like she is part of a community: because the United States does not mandate voting, she said she feels it is a civic duty.

“[Voting] makes you a citizen of America,” Constantinou said. “It makes you part of the American community, part of the populus.”

Constantinou said she leans left and had voted entirely for Democratic candidates in the election.

“With all the democratic values, transgender rights, LGBT rights in general, women having the right over their own bodies with abortion, with all these immigration policies, I definitely lean left,” she said. “Just the fact that Democrats are more for equality, for the people, and Republicans are still believing in the confederacy for the most part.”

Morgan Lee, a junior in the College of Communication, said she was excited to vote for the first time this year.

Lee is registered with the Democratic party, she said, and voted along party lines because she thinks the party supports rights for all people, something she does not see reflected in the Republican party.

“I believe in a mixture of opinions in the House,” Lee said. “But I do think right now we need a stronger Democratic voice.”

CAS sophomore Leeya Pressburger, who is a resident of Chicago, Illinois, said this was her first time voting. She said she registered to vote in Massachusetts instead of Illinois because she felt her vote mattered more here.

“The Chicago Democrats pretty much have the vote,” Pressburger wrote, “so I figured here, where it could go either way, and there are some candidates that could swing one way or another, it was more important to vote here.”

Pressburger said she is a registered Democrat and voted with her party even though she did look up each candidate on either side before casting her vote.

“Especially with recently everyone pushing for the millennials to go out and vote, I feel like I’m doing my part.” Pressburger said. “I’m excited. It feels very official with the ballots, and I’m feeling like I’m actually make a difference in the political state of our nation.”

Kylie McDaneld, Audrey Martin and Damian Walsh contributed to the reporting of this story.

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