Election Day across campus


Katie Shields, a freshman at Kent State, votes at the Rec Center on November 6 2012. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk

Obama Mamas

Obama Mama vans shuttled students from campus to the Health and Wellness Center to the polls. The campaign Organizing for America and the College Democrats coordinated the shuttles.

“I think we’re showing a really, really good student turnout,” said Brandon Stephens, vice president of the College Democrats.

Transportation to the polls started in 2004 when the group was known as the Minivan Mamas. It continued in 2008 and the name was changed to Obama Mamas.

Kara Skora, Obama Mama volunteer, said this is the third presidential election for which the group has provided the shuttle service.

Skora said the first voters of the day, those who arrived at 8 a.m., told her they were going to vote for Romney.

“We are nice people,” Skora said. “We’ll take you no matter who you vote for.”

In 2008, 49 vans shuttled students back and forth to the polls. This year, Skora said there were only ten.

“No one is as excited as they were four years ago,” Skora said.

College Democrats

As part of the College Democrats, sophomore exploratory major Rachel Moore worked her canvassing shift at Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Partnered with the Obama Campaign, canvassing was an organized effort around campus to answer questions about voting and inform people of its importance.

“This event is not to persuade anyone,” Moore said. “It’s just to make sure people know they can vote, they have the right to vote, where to vote and when to vote.”

Stephens said the organization has been focused on getting students to understand the importance of voting.

But Stephens said he is glad the election is winding down.

“I’m glad we’re all going to be able to relax a little bit, but the game is never over,” Stephens said.

College Republicans

College Republicans have spent the last couple weeks focused on targeting Kent residents rather than Kent State students.

“Most of the people on campus are Democrats because this is a Democrat region,” said Jennifer Dawson, freshman pre-fashion design and merchandising major and College Republican member. “[‘Students] aren’t going to change their opinion, so there is no reason for us to say ‘Vote for Romney,’ because they are going to be like, ‘No, I’m going to vote Democrat no matter what.’”

The organization made calls and went door to door throughout Kent.

Dawson said the College Republicans would spend election night at the Victory Center in Acorn Alley, making calls to Colorado because the polls close later.

Off campus versus on campus voting

Meghan Caprez, sophomore public relations major, set aside 45 minutes of her morning to vote before heading to classes.

“I was not impressed,” Caprez said. “It was my first time voting, so I really wanted it to be awesome. I wanted to have the sense of ‘yes, I’m part of the democratic process’ and, like, triumphant angels singing in the background. It just didn’t happen because I was so upset.”

Caprez said she had to wait an hour and a half in line at the First Baptist Church in Akron before she was able to vote. She even skipped her first class of the day and was almost late to her second class.

“I feel bad for people who couldn’t take that hour and a half [out of their day] to wait to vote because that means their vote doesn’t count, they don’t get to vote and they couldn’t be part of the process,” Caprez said.

Courtney Goodzinski, freshman history major, voted at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and only had to wait 10 minutes.

“A lot of my friends were doing absentee ballots but I was like, ‘no I’ll just register here,’” Goodzinski said.

Student Voters

Student voters ranged from the informed, to the uninformed, to those who didn’t vote at all.

Goodzinski said she was excited to vote in her first presidential election.

“For some reason I never thought I would make it to 18, and I would never get to vote,” Goodzinski said.

Deidre Pulley, freshman exploratory major, said she voted even though she doesn’t follow politics regularly.

“I always heard my mom and uncle talking about politics, but I never paid too much attention,” Pulley said.

Some students said they received negative reactions for choosing not to vote.

Marshal Sarginger, sophomore exercise science major, said his grandma was furious after finding out he wasn’t planning to vote.

“She was pissed,” Sarginger said. “She said, ‘I’ll vote for you if you’re not going to vote. It’s un-American of you.’”

Sarginger said he didn’t agree with either candidate’s policies, so he found it better to not vote at all.

Contact Bethany Johnson at [email protected], Kirsten Bowers at [email protected] and Cassie Smith at [email protected].