Today, students across the University of Wisconsin–Stout are heading out to the polls to cast their ballots for both the presidential and senate race in Wisconsin. Both Presidential candidates spent time here in Wisconsin over the last week of the campaign with Donald Trump holding a rally just next door in Eau Claire on Nov. 1 and Tim Kaine visiting Milwaukee on Nov. 6. Wisconsin provides an opportunity to pick up some valuable electoral college votes.
The Stout Student Association sent out a campus-wide email yesterday encouraging people to get out to the polls and today sent an update with transportation information on how students can catch the Dunn transit busses to polling places across the county.
Within the polling location on campus, Price Commons, Students were greeted with decent lines. Speaking with UW–Stout junior Nicholas Hildebrand after he cast his ballot, he estimated that the total time between waiting in line to register and then waiting in line to vote lasted around an hour. This neither discouraged nor surprised Hildebrand.
“It wasn’t as long of a wait as I thought it was gonna be,” Hildebrand said. “I anticipated it being about an hour and forty-five minutes,” he explained, adding that this lengthy projection was due to the fact that college campus voting is often a busy, crowded affair. When asked what brought him out to the polls, Hildebrand said it was his “civic duty” to vote for the nation’s next president.
R.J. Cheek, another student who voted before the noon hour, said, “I want some equality like everyone else, I think being aware of the future of your country is really important and if you do enough research and make your own decision, that will probably be the right one.”
[UPDATE 2:15 November 8th, 2016]
As the day goes on, election officials are reporting a good turnout for Wards 3 and 4 in Menomonie, Wis. As of 2:10 pm local time, 589 people had cast ballots at the Menomonie government center. Lines to vote were exceedingly short. Student Sarah Murphy, a senior on campus, was pleasantly surprised by wait time she experienced at the government center.
“It literally took like five minutes I thought there was gonna be a line,” said Murphy, who had registered and indicated that she had voted in past primaries.
Students Nicki, Tessa, Morgan, and Jenna weren’t as lucky however. Each of them stated they had to register downstairs first where a more substantial line awaited them. Nicki, Tessa, and Morgan, each indicated that this was their first time voting and that the excitement of being able to vote was what drew them to the polls today. A senior on campus who requested we not use her name gave a similar statement.
“The fact that I know that not every person [has] this opportunity, so I took the opportunity to do it,” she said.
Expressing the rights they have in being able to elect the next president students are heading out to the polls. North Campus and students living to the east of campus will find themselves at the Government Center today to cast their ballots.
Stay with us throughout the day as we bring you updates on wait times, student responses and any information about potential problems at the polling places.