Late voters undetered by media coverage

Marcus Barkley

As the onset of evening blanketed the city of Kent in darkness, late voters continued to hit the polls for last-minute votes.

Voters gave a variety of reasons for heading out to vote close to the 7:30 p.m. deadline, such as work, school and just plain everyday apathy.

“I was watching television,” Amber Levesque, 22, said with a laugh. “I was about to leave earlier, but then another good show came on.”

Most of the local polling stations were noticeably vacant at dusk because of voting during the day and the massive amount of early voting, though the Student Recreation and Wellness Center stayed busy through the evening.

Richard James, a 24-year-old who lives on campus, said the wait was nearly nonexistent at the rec center, but he still had trouble with identification.

“It was a bit of a hassle,” James said. “I needed an extra ID to prove I lived on campus, though they didn’t even end up looking at it.”

When asked if major media played a role in the decision on whether to vote and who to vote for, the resounding answer was no.

“I didn’t really pay attention to the polls,” Nick Mastro, 18, said. “I don’t let the polls sway my opinion.”

Out of the nine people who were asked after casting their vote, all said exit polls and media coverage of early voting did nothing to stop them from voting or change their minds. Many didn’t even have the chance to catch the media circus before hitting the polls.

“I really didn’t have the chance to watch the election coverage,” Emily Brown, 18, said. “I was at class.”

Will Houghtaling and Patrick Dease, both 20, came out to vote at a nearly empty Church of the Nazarene on Summit Street. They said regardless of the media coverage, they would come out to vote anyway because of the election’s significance and because it is their first time voting.

“I know how important this election is,” Dease said. “This is one of the biggest elections ever, and I know Ohio has a lot of influence.”

Kassie Kirby, 36, who brought her three young boys to see how voting was done, said voting, no matter how late, is very important, citing the 2004 election as an example.

“I would say this time around people will go out and vote (regardless of the media and polls),” Kirby said. “Nothing is set in stone.”

Contact public affairs reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].