Midterm election spurs Penn State students to ballot

Election official Britt Munnell, right, checks in Penn State student Emilee Ehret before she votes Tuesday in the HUB.
Election official Britt Munnell, right, checks in Penn State student Emilee Ehret before she votes Tuesday in the HUB. CDT photo

Amid the hustle to finish midterm papers and study for exams, Penn State students turned out to vote in the midterm election.

Early in the day, junior Erin Kyle showed up to vote at the State College Municipal Building. Kyle, who is from Pittsburgh, changed her district to make it easier to vote while at school, something she thinks it is important to do.

“Not everybody has the right to vote,” Kyle said after she had cast her ballot. She said she recognizes that she has been given the right to vote and she uses it, adding that some people her age around the world can’t exercise the right to vote.

“It’s just important to have your say in the government, because not everyone gets to do that.”

Outside Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center were tables set up where volunteers handed out T-shirts and buttons to voters.

Bellefonte Area High School senior Britt Munnell, a poll volunteer, said the flow was pretty slow early on but picked up later in the day.

Penn State sophomore Caroline Crasnick wasn’t old enough to vote in the last presidential election, so Tuesday was her first opportunity.

“I am excited to be a part of it and have a say in what goes on in our community and the country,” she said.

Junior Matthew Bastain said he votes whenever there is an election.

“Not everyone has the right to vote, so why not exercise that right that you do have?” he said.

Hannah Clark, of Atlanta, didn’t vote. She voted in the last presidential election, but she didn’t vote in this election because she didn’t remember to apply for an absentee ballot in time.

She thinks it’s important, though.

“Someday it will actually matter, so we should try to be as involved as possible and make a difference while we can,” Clark said.

Across campus at North Halls, sophomore and Bucks County native Teresa Steck sat at a blood drive table, coaxing people to sign up to give blood.

Although Steck has done research papers about why it’s important to vote, she didn’t vote in this election because she, too, didn’t complete her absentee ballot application, which she said was an inconvenience.

“As a college student, I have to fill out an absentee ballot, and it is a lot more effort.”

She also tends to vote differently from the majority in her county, and although she thinks her vote would count, she doesn’t think it would change the overall election.

Penn State seniors Brandon Burnett and Emilio Costales sat on the wall in front of Old Main.

Although they’re both registered voters, they said they were too busy with schoolwork to apply for absentee ballots, and both said they find the political system a little frustrating. Costales voted in the last presidential election, and Barnett has never voted.

“I have pretty cynical views about voting and that whole process. I firmly believe that my votes and (those of the) American people in general don’t go anywhere,” Barnett said. “There are too many games played in politics for it to be that straightforward.”