The 2022 midterm election took place Tuesday, Nov. 8. University of Wisconsin students had the opportunity to vote at numerous campus polling locations between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The turnout on campus will probably be high, Wisconsin State Deputy Coordinator for the Campus Vote Project Noah Foster said.
“We’re eager and hopeful to pass the 2018 mark [for numbers of college voters],” Foster said. “We’ve seen college campuses all across Wisconsin turn out at extremely high rates already through 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 Chief Election Inspector for Ward 56 Taylor Wall.
Wall said at 10:30 a.m. there had been 153 voters at The Nick, nearly all of whom were students, and he expected a bigger rush as the day went on.
In the 2018 midterm, student voter turnout at UW was 58%, greatly surpassing the national average of 38.5% for post-secondary institutions, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement campus report.
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UW sophomore Mia Kurzer is a volunteer encouraging students to vote, working with Young Democrats UW.
Kurzer said though they’re a Democrat 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 time voting. Lieberman, a Democrat from California, said voting in a divided state like Wisconsin makes her feel like her ballot carries more weight.
“Living in a blue state, sometimes I feel like my vote wouldn’t matter as much even though I know that every vote counts,” she said. “But voting here, I feel like it makes more of a difference.”
Lieberman said it’s critically important for college students to vote because as the youngest voting demographic, they’re deciding on their futures.
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Wall said they should have all the votes at his location counted shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m., and the counting process should be relatively fast.
“We’re processing absentee [ballots] already,” Wall said. “We’ve been at it for a few hours.”
Foster said for the entire state, it could be days, if not weeks, before the gubernatorial and senate election winners are declared. He said though Wisconsin will be a faster count than the 2020 election, which took nearly two weeks, voters may 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 since this election will be very close, it will likely be decided by fewer votes than that.
“These elections, particularly at the state level, are going to be decided by the narrowest of margins,” Foster said.