The 2022 midterm election was held on Tuesday, November 8. University of Wisconsin students had the opportunity to vote at many polling places on campus between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
On-campus turnout is likely to be high, Wisconsin State’s deputy coordinator for the Campus Vote Project said Noah Foster.
“We look forward and hope pass the milestone 2018 [for numbers of college voters]”, Foster said. “We’ve already seen college campuses all over Wisconsin turn up at extremely high rates thanks to early voting.”
Many UW students voted at the Nicholas Recreation Center in Ward 56. There are about 1,200 eligible voters in Ward 56, according to Ward 56 Chief Election Inspector Taylor Wall.
Wall said at 10:30 a.m. there were 153 voters at The Nick, almost all of whom were students, and he expected a bigger rush as the day progressed.
At the midpoint of 2018, the student participation rate at UW was 58%, which is largely surpass the national average of 38.5% for post-secondary institutions, according to the campus report of the National Study on Learning, Voting and Engagement.
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UW sophomore Mia Kurzer is a volunteer encouraging students to vote, working with UW Young Democrats.
Kurzer said that while they are Democrats and are specifically trying to get more liberal students to vote, they want all students to have the opportunity to vote for leaders who represent their values.
“I’m just trying to get people to vote,” Kurzer said. “If you can vote, why not just vote?”
UW freshman Sophia Lieberman said today was her first vote. Lieberman, a Democrat from California, said voting in a divided state like Wisconsin made her feel like her ballot carried more weight.
“Living in a blue state, sometimes I feel like my vote wouldn’t matter as much even though I know every vote counts,” she said. “But voting here, I feel like it makes more of a difference.”
Lieberman said it was extremely important for students to vote because, as the youngest voting demographic, they decide their future.
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Wall said they should have all the votes counted at his location shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m., and the counting process should be relatively quick.
“We deal with absences [ballots] already,” Wall said. “We’ve been there for a few hours.
Foster said for the state as a whole, it could be days or even weeks before the winners of the gubernatorial and Senate elections are declared. He said while Wisconsin will count faster than the 2020 election, which lasted nearly two weeks, voters could still face a long wait.
Foster said a difference of 50,000 votes could decide whether we know the results tonight or after the end of the week. And he said that since this election will be very close, it will probably be decided by fewer votes than that.
“These elections, especially at the state level, are going to be decided by the narrowest margins,” Foster said.