Portage County voters make their voices heard

Kent State Students line up at the polls on November 6, 2018 for the midway elections at the Kent State Wellness Center.

Kent State community members went to their designated polling places Tuesday in order to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

Midterm elections take place every four years, at the midpoint of the elected president’s term.

Mike Mistur, the co-owner of Bent Tree Coffee, announced Monday that residents who vote would get free coffee all day.

“I think everyone’s voices should be heard,” Mistur said. “It’s one of the easiest ways we can do that so why not hook some people up with some free coffee if they go out and vote?”

Mistur also allowed his employees to leave on the clock and cast their ballots. “It’s hard a lot of times for people who work in this industry to get out and be able to vote,” Mistur said.

Campus organizations like Kent State Undergraduate Student Government (USG) encouraged students to participate in the election by giving free rides to voting locations. USG announced Tuesday morning on Twitter that students who came to their office with proof of voting will be given a free ride.

Transportation companies like Lyft and Uber were also trying to encourage voters by offering discounts on rides to polling locations.

Historically, younger individuals vote less than older generations.

According to Newsweek, “Just 49% of eligible [millennials and generation X] voters voted in 2016, compared with 69% of eligible baby boomers.”

“It’s a lot of information that not many people teach us,” a senior psychology major ,Michaela Stuckey,  said. “Not many people teach us from a neutral setting, where we can understand both parties. A lot of [millenials] are discouraged to vote since it seems so overwhelming.”

For junior health communication major Kate Scaduto, one vote can make all the difference.

“(One vote) can literally change the outcome of an election,” she said. “The younger generation has so many opinions, we need to voice them.”

Even some professors were trying to get students to go out and vote, offering extra credit for those who could prove they voted.

One student who received extra credit was Christina Ziurys, a freshman pre-Fashion Design major, though this election was more important to her than extra credit.

“It is a very special thing that we are allowed to do in this country,” Ziurys said. “Most countries don’t even get to vote, especially women in these countries.”

Students like freshman biology major Marissa Belock were excited to vote this year for their first time.

“Voting is important to me because I’ve always kind of lived in a sheltered household,” Belock said. “My parents had really closed off views of what you should vote for … and this is the first time I’ve really got to choose for myself.”

“It’s important to vote because you don’t want random people to represent you,”said junior advertising major Michael Kelly. “You want these candidates to represent you and make good decisions.

Caris Kuhn, a senior political science student and a worker for the Ohio Democratic party, passed out practice ballots in front of the Recreation and Wellness Center.

The ballots were printed with a list of all of the Democratic candidates running for office.

“It’s helpful for people going in,” Kuhn said. “I understand that it’s flustering when you first go in. Especially if it’s your first time voting, these help you make sure the process goes smoothly. It’s by no means telling individuals they need to vote for these candidates, it’s just helping inform individuals.”

Madison Brattoli is a diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

Bryan Vohsing is a business and downtown/Trumbull reporter. Contact him at [email protected].