Stout Students Vote Despite Polling Challenges

Clarice Tume and Bryce Parr

Only days before the Wisconsin Primary Election, there were feelings of unease as the stay-at-home closures impacted staffing and public health. Many Wisconsinites were left wondering if the election would happen on April 7.

Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order #74 the day before the election in an attempt to postpone. “No Wisconsinite should ever have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote and being safe, secure, and healthy,” said the order. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked the Governor’s decision to postpone in a 4-2 vote, and the election was held as scheduled.

Many students and their families still visited the polls to exercise their right to vote. UW-Stout Freshman Jade Evans said, “I was still really determined to vote, I definitely took precautions.” Evans said her father also went to vote. “He was kind of concerned based on who was running the polls and the conditions,” She said.

Other Wisconsin residents who assumed the risk and lined up to vote were met with long lines and closed polling locations. UW-Stout alumna Tassia Barfield, a Milwaukee resident, witnessed lines that extended past city blocks. “They only had 5 out of 118 polls open, and the lines were like blocks away. I just thought that was crazy and ridiculous. People were still in line even after voting polls were closed,” Barfield said.

Many students were proud of their fellow citizen’s willpower. “It was upsetting, but it made me glad that these people are willing to wait long hours to cast their votes, They have the will and patience to make sure there is needed change implemented,” Sophomore Kalia Xion said.

As the virus continues to spread and the future seems uncertain, some students are expecting to see change after the election in November. Recent UW-Stout graduate Chia Lor said, “I want our generation to understand the power that we have as a collective, and that we can create change by voting and talking about the issues that are important to us.”