Voters head to polls despite candidate dissatisfaction

Ben O'Connell, Staff Reporter

In an election year where many find themselves dissatisfied with the top of the ticket, it can be questionable as to whether voting turnout will be the same as usual, or if it will break from the status quo.

On Monday Nov. 7th, the day before the election, I spoke with the spokesperson of the UW-La Crosse political science department, Dr. Timothy Dale, about the election. According to Dr. Dale, “the university and community typically have a really good voting turnout,” and heading into Tuesday’s election, Dale also said he expects voters to turn out in the same way they usually do.

Voter apprehension has been a concern across the country heading into the polls, especially with the current batch of presidential candidates. Dr. Dale reiterated this, saying “these presidential candidates have historically high dissatisfaction rates with the public so people are more disillusioned and frustrated with that race.” Luckily this doesn’t appear to be a problem because of the other races down the ballot. Dr. Dale backed his statement saying that there doesn’t appear to be a lack of enthusiasm and that voter turnout is expected to be as usual.

Historically, La Crosse has proven to be an influential and battleground region of Wisconsin. “It’s a swing area of Wisconsin, that’s why we see so many visits from candidates and surrogates.” Recent weeks have seen everyone from Chelsea Clinton, to Ron Johnson, to Tim Kaine, visiting the surrounding area and for some the city of La Crosse itself.

Due to this, it was very hard for Dale to predict how La Crosse would end up voting, even though the area generally leans slightly democratic.

Once election day rolled around, it became apparent that voter apprehensiveness and dissatisfaction with the top of the ticket did not play a role at UW La Crosse. A steady stream of students flowed through the rec throughout much of the day to cast their ballots and let their voices be heard.

I was able to discuss the day’s election with UW-L students as they exited the REC, proudly wearing their “I voted” stickers. What stood out to me most was the excitement emanating from these young voters.

Everyone I talked to had different reasons why they were galvanized to vote in this election and it was really interesting to hear their thoughts on the day, from if they had any concerns over voting, to why they were voting.

“My only worry was how long the line was going to be at the rec” said voter and on campus resident Nick Yourich. I was actually really impressed because I made it through there within ten minutes and I didn’t even register before today.” Yourich’s reason to vote was more simple than most, saying he “voted to feel good.”

Other students told me they were voting to make a statement such as UW-L junior Tony Douglass. Proudly exercising his right to vote, Douglass told me he “voted to give more votes to a candidate people didn’t think was a viable option.”

Again speaking on the third party vote, sophomore student Heidi Weiler stated that she “really did want to vote for a third party candidate” but was worried if “[she] didn’t vote for the democratic party, the Republican would win” and “[she] really doesn’t like Donald Trump.”

Most people I spoke with fell along these lines, all energized to vote, but for very different reasons. Every single person who voted today exercised their right to vote as an American citizen and whether their candidate wins or not, they took part in a process much bigger than their city or school.

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