Low student voter turn out for May 8 election

As Michael Pfahl, 2000 Kent State graduate seeking a council seat in Kent, walked the streets in Ward 5 to encourage students to vote, most of them didn’t even know it was election day.

“I didn’t know it was election day,” said Elizabeth Fettrow, senior exercise science major. “What’s on the ballot?”

Catherine Zimmerman, freshman business major, and Lauren McCaffery, freshman nursing major, said they didn’t know they could vote today even though they are registered in Kent.

Bernie Christensen, election official for Ward 3, precinct A, said because the senior service levy was the main issue for people to vote on, it was expected only a few students would show up to vote.

“It’s not interesting to them,” said Christensen, who was stationed at the Presbyterian Church on Summit Street. “Usually we get students that live in Allerton apartments, but this year nobody’s showed up so far.”

Edward Kovach, election official for Ward 5, precinct C, said he was disappointed.

“We have 1,200 registered voters,” he said. “Only 23 have voted.”

He added that out of the registered voters, 600 are students, but only two or three voted during the day.

In Ward 4, student voter turnout was no different.

Election official Fred Skok, who sat at the voting table from 6.30 a.m. till 7.30 p.m. at Kentway Retirement Center, said the low turnout is because a lot of students don’t bother to register.

“Most students move every year,” Skok said. “It takes a lot of effort for them to register.”

He also said it takes a couple years for the city to clear the books, so the records on student voters might not be accurate.

The Undergraduate Student Senate provided a van for transportation to voting booths, but a spokesperson said the senate sent the driver home early because of low interest from students.

Contact public affairs reporters Charlotte Muller at [email protected] and Nate Stuart at [email protected].