Vans to polling places have low voter turnout

Bryan Wroten

Terry Beasley drove his van between polling stations in the Kent area from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. yesterday. He had five passengers.

Beasley, a driver for Emerald Transportation, was hired by the Undergraduate Student Senate to take student voters from Kent State to polling stations. He said he has been driving students for three years now, and this fall’s election is the worst he’s seen.

Beasley’s van was one of several taking students to polls. He said other drivers had a similar turnout.

“If I could say 1 percent, if any,” Beasley said comparing this to the amount of voters he’s used to taking.

He said the low turnout is probably because the public didn’t know the issues and candidates well. He said the public can’t be expected to vote on issues and people with which they are unfamiliar.

“You don’t know who is who anymore, and they knock on the door and ask you to vote for them,” he said.

In the Kent Church of the Nazarene, Fred Skok, presiding judge of Ward 4A, said he actually saw a higher turnout of student voters than usual for a non-presidential election. He said there have been years with a very low turnout.

“We’ve had elections where we only have 20 voters,” he said.

He said a reason why more students voted today may have been because of the write-in city council candidate Justin Jeffery, who is also a student at Kent State. Another reason, he said, might be the Reform Ohio Now issues.

Ryan Kenyon, a graduate student studying information architecture and knowledge management, was coming out of the Kent Church of the Nazarene to head to another polling station because he was at the wrong one. He said he was voting to support the issue for mental retardation facilities because he has friends who run one.

He said it’s important for students to vote because students need to choose their leaders, and “Plus you get a sticker.”

Contact religion and minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at [email protected].