College Dems optimistic about early voting despite low turnout

Christina Suttles

The shuttle services arranged to take students to the polls for early voting this week had a less-than-ideal turnout, but the KSU College Democrats are confident that things will pick up.

While no one had a designated expectation of how many students would take advantage of the shuttles, James King, treasurer of the College Democrats, said that community volunteers have taken approximately half a dozen students to the polls since Tuesday.

While turnout was unexpectedly low the first day the service was available, with only a few people showing up, King said traffic increased after Wednesday night’s presidential debate.

“Now that the debates have started up, we expect to have a higher and higher turnout,” King said.

Volunteers said they were not discouraged by the lack of youth enthusiasm on Tuesday, because they said it was their duty to contribute to the Obama campaign.

Roger Marble, a retired engineer who volunteered for Obama in 2008, lingered outside of the Student Center for the majority of the day Tuesday optimistically waiting for students to ask for a ride of the Ravenna Board of Elections office to vote.

He said that students should be eager to vote early because the longer they wait, the longer the lines are going to be.

“I mean, it’s a 15-minute drive each way,” Marble said. “I don’t know what the line is like at [the Board of Elections], but I can’t envision that it’s going to be a 5-hour wait. Now’s the time to vote with the minimum impact on your life. I’m here all day and if somebody shows up I’ll be glad to take them.”

King said that he isn’t discouraged by the turnout because there is still more than a month of early voting in Ohio.

“We have 30 days of early vote, and my ideal situation would be hundreds of students a day wanting to vote, but that’s just not the reality and we never expected to have that. We’re still happy about the result we have.”

King said he expects to see a huge spike in involvement when the Democratic National Committee bus visits Friday with celebrity guest Olivia Munn shuttling students to the polls.

The bus will be in front of Eastway at 11:30 a.m., giving students a chance to register to vote and vote early — as well as take a ride in a bus driven by Munn, who stars in HBO’s “The Newsroom.”

The deadline to register to vote is quickly approaching on Oct. 9, and the KSU College Democrats said they are determined to get as many students registered as possible.

Shuttle services should continue throughout the next few weeks, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Contact Christina Suttles at [email protected].