In the moments before voting began at 7 a.m. Tuesday, a small crowd of students clustered around the doors of Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center, the largest polling location in the commonwealth.
Morgan Kolonauski, a Penn State junior from Exton, was the first voter in line for the 33rd precinct. She said she wanted to arrive early to get Election Day “over with.”
“I know it’s important to vote, and I do care about it,” Kolonauski said. “But, I just partly feel like this year is going to be a close one and a hard one.”
With plans to help the Democratic campaign later today, Anthony Zarzycki said he felt a sense of pride in knowing he was the first to cast a ballot in the 25th precinct.
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“I think there’s a lot of historicity with this vote,” Zarzycki, a junior from Brodheadsville, said. “Even if it’s just for me, looking back and saying the first woman president — not only did I vote for her, but I was up and early.”
A native of Long Island, N.Y., freshman Nicholas Crescenzo said he wasn’t interested in registering for an absentee ballot.
“Pennsylvania is much more crucial in swinging the election than New York,” he said. “Also, for most of the year, I’m going to be living here. I kind of consider myself to be a part of Pennsylvania at this point.”
Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said he’s expecting a “healthy” turnout in the HUB, most likely within the ballpark of the 7,000 or 8,000 voters from the previous two presidential elections.
There will be more than 50 poll workers in the HUB to make sure the lines move “quickly” and “smoothly,” he said.
“I personally love today,” Pipe said. “It’s really an expression of our country.”
At the State College Municipal Building polling station early Tuesday morning, election official Sharon Gaddes said that although there’s been a steady stream of voters coming in, it is hard to tell how many voters will eventually turn out.
“We have 2,500 registered voters in this (29th) precinct, but many people have moved and not notified the election board,” Gaddes said. “If you look at the number that’s registered, our turnout is very low.”
Some voters came in with a heavy heart. Ute Poerschke, an associate professor of architecture at Penn State, said she is scared.
“I feel like the last year has been so aggressive, but I am hoping the outcome will turn out well,” said Poerschke.
Alfredo Vazquez is the owner of Micromechatronics Inc. in State College. He said he is excited to see the nation move forward.
“I expect to see changes in the country, to see things move into the right direction.” Vazquez said.
By 8:45 a.m., the station had recorded 144 ballots.
Alison Kuznitz and Min Xian are Penn State journalism students.