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Student voter turnout starting slow at Penn State

Polling places, including the HUB-Robeson Center on the Penn State University campus, are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Polling places, including the HUB-Robeson Center on the Penn State University campus, are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Centre Daily Times, file

Voter turn out has been fairly low thus far in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center.

That hasn’t stopped State College mayoral candidate Don Hahn or several students supporting different candidates from standing outside the polling location to try to convince students walking by to vote.

By 9:05 a.m., 13 people came to vote in the HUB. In the two hours since the polls opened, there were three people from the 24th precinct, one person from the 33rd, four people from the 25th, three people from the 27th and two people from the 44th.

Hahn said he has stood outside of different polling locations to encourage people to vote when he was running for positions in 2005 and 2000 as well.

“I think student voting is important — it’s the first step in a very long process of activism,” Hahn said. “The people who are here passing out literature are the real inspirations, I think. Hopefully they’re going to be basically taking my place and running themselves.”

Andrew Uhring, a junior political science major who is running one of the polling stations in the HUB, said he thinks the turnout so far has been normal compared to other years.

“There does seem to be a fair amount of interest in the mayoral election, though,” Uhring said. “There seems to be a fairly high interest level for what I can expect from college-age students.”

In addition to students in support of Hahn, there were also students supporting BugPAC standing outside of Heritage Hall. According to Alex Shockley, co-chairman of BugPAC and a senior majoring in hospitality management, there are 25 to 40 students standing outside of polling locations throughout State College supporting BugPAC candidates.

“It’s important for students to recognize that the local election is just as important as the presidential election,” Shockley said. “Our decision today could affect the next four years of Penn Staters.”

Historically, Penn State turnout in recent non-presidential years is just 2.33 percent for the November elections.

Polling places are open until 8 p.m. in Centre County.

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