Students take advantage of early midterm voting

Students take advantage of early midterm voting

Students take advantage of early midterm voting
November 03
23:54 2014

Rhiannon Saegert / Senior Staff Writer

UNT hosted early voting for the first time last week, giving students who may not have had the opportunity a chance to have their voices heard.

As late as 7 p.m. Halloween night, students, some already in costume, waited in Sycamore Hall to cast their early ballot for the Nov. 4 election. The issues on the ballot include the gubernatorial race, the race for lieutenant governor, the fracking ban and changes to Denton’s liquor laws.   

Digital retailing and merchandising senior Ashleigh Tribble said the on-campus polling location was particularly important to students who rely on public transit, many of whom have never voted before.

“The way the polls are set up, the nearest one is on 288, and there’s no busing over there,” Tribble said. “We also have people who aren’t students who work on campus.”

The staff ran into trouble Monday morning when connectivity issues prevented votes from being processed. Deputy elections administrator Kerry Martin said the issue was resolved by 11 a.m.

“It was the typical first-day, beginning of voting trouble,” Martin said. “No one was turned away.”

Long lines and outside conflict quickly became other issues for the new location. Voters waited as long as two hours to access the four voting machines set up in a small room on the first floor of Sycamore Hall.

“If we had more room and more equipment, that would make a difference,” Martin said. “This is a long ballot, that’s the nature of this election.”

The ballot is also a contentious one, and UNT’s poll site saw various altercations, including North Texas College Republicans’ vice president Baileigh Poston being spit on as she handed out fliers.

Angie Holliday with Frack Free Denton said her organization had started giving voters rides from the campus to the Denton Civic Center on E. McKinney Street, which had more voting machines, space and shorter lines, in hopes that voters wouldn’t be discouraged by the wait. Frack Free Denton was also a prominent figure outside the polling site, with several signs planted and a large, wooden fracking derrick set up on the north side of Sycamore.

To boost morale, Holliday and fellow Frack Free Denton member Eric Moll serenaded voters on the ukulele.

Featured Image: Student Government Association gathers near the Onstead fountain Wednesday evening to march to UNT’s early polling site. Photo by Joshua Knopp – News Editor

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