Election Day turnout is high at MSU and in East Lansing

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Precinct Captain Kathleen Kiester checks on a voter's eligibility as others file past at the Brody Hall precinct Nov. 8.

Joe Grimm

Precinct Captain Kathleen Kiester checks on a voter's eligibility as others file past at the Brody Hall precinct Nov. 8.

With Election Day under way for five hours, East Lansing polling locations showed significant activity.

Brody Hall precinct 1 Chair Kathleen Keister said that, based on the morning turnout, she is expecting a good turnout for the rest of the day. As of 10:45 a.m., 276 registered voters had voted at the precinct out of approximately 1,200 registered voters. By 12:55 p.m., 476 voters had come to the precinct.

In 2012, there were 1,578 registered voters at Precinct 1, according to the Ingham County website. In total, 708 came out to vote, or about 45 percent.

“So I would say the turnout has been good,” Kiester said.

East Lansing Precinct 2 Chairman Robert Ulrich points out Precinct 1 at Body Hall on the MSU campus, just south of his precinct.

Joe Grimm

East Lansing Precinct 2 Chairman Robert Ulrich points out Precinct 1 at Body Hall on the MSU campus, just south of his precinct.

Just across Grand River Avenue at Martin Luther Chapel, 444 Abbot Road, Precinct 2 voted. Precinct Chairman Robert Ulrich said 700 of 1,700 registered voters had been through by noon. Precinct 2 is not a campus area, but one of retirees and long-time residents. Ulrich retired as an East Lansing schools principal in 2010. He said the first voter arrived at 6:25 and 125 were in line when the precinct opened at 7 a.m.

At the Brody Hall precinct, Kiester said she also had some early voters but nowhere as many as Precinct 2. “This is a student area,” she explained.

Outside Brody Hall, East Lansing School Board candidate Kath Edsall passing out Democratic Party literature to potential voters. She said it seems the poll has been active. When she went inside, she saw a line wrapped around several times.

Edsall said she’s most impressed with the number of students active in the political process.

“I’m impressed with how many students have said they’ve already voted when I talked to them,” she said.

Students wait in line to vote at Brody Hall. Photo/McKenna Ross

McKenna Ross

Students wait in line to vote at Brody Hall. Photo/McKenna Ross

But for some students, finding time to vote during the day can be difficult. Neuroscience sophomore Viktoria Teneqexhi said she was rushing to class and trying to figure out when she will have time to vote at her precinct in IM-Sports West.

“I’ve just been trying to figure out when to vote because I have to run to class now and I have to study for a midterm tomorrow,” Teneqexhi said. “I’m planning to go after this class though.”

Other students planned to vote early so they would not have to worry about it during the day. MSU sophomore Spike Dearing said he voted at his off-campus precinct as soon as the polls opened.

He said when he got there at 6:50 a.m., there were already about 30 people in line. Still, he was able to get it all done in about 15 minutes, he said.

Students have different reasons for participating in this year’s election. Teneqexhi said she is voting to keep Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump out of the White House.

“I’m voting because Donald Trump is threatening democracy and we can’t let a demagogue win,” she said.

Dearing said he is voting for a different reason. He said he believes voting is an American right and wants to exercise his power.

“It’s an important thing to do,” Dearing said. “It defines who Americans are. If we live free, then we might as well exercise our right to be free and have a say.”

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