Are you aware that the Illinois State Primary Election is coming up on Mar. 18, or that early voting began this Monday? If your answer to either of these questions was no, you are not alone. However, it would do you some good to do your research and make your way to the nearest polling location.
Most students say their reluctance to vote comes from a feeling of being overwhelmed by politics or a general lack of knowledge of the issues or persons being voted on. Most do not realize, however, how easy it is to remedy these anxieties.
For example, a quick visit to the McLean County Clerk’s website can provide you with all the information you need on early polling locations as well as a PDF file of the specimen ballot.
Kathy Michael, the McLean County Clerk provided a little insight into ways students can most easily get themselves informed and to a polling location this month.
“Illinois State has always been a great help to our office,” Michael said, and mentioned specifically the mass emails that the University sends to students in order to remind them about upcoming election dates.
“I’m a big believer in personal responsibility,” Michael told us. “It’s disappointing and expensive to have low voter turn out, so we do our best to get the word out.”
Michael suggested that students “like” her Facebook page, “McLean County Clerk,” which she updates regularly. She also pointed out that if students are not comfortable declaring a party through voting, they may request a nonpartisan ballot, which would allow them to vote solely on specific issues concerning the county, such as a possible increase in the area’s sales tax, and not a particular political party.
Students can vote early in the Bowling and Billards Center, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and March 10-15. After that, voting will begin in regular polling locations on Mar. 18.
ISU students share their thoughts on why or why not they plan to vote in this month’s primary.
“I think if you know about what you’re voting for, you should definitely vote. I think not voting is a waste, but I have no idea about the issues concerning the election coming up so I probably won’t. I did vote in the last presidential election, but I’m not into politics because it confuses me. In the future I would like to learn more.” - Ari Perez, Senior mass media major
“I think that at our age, we don’t know much about what is going on, and so we are not as concerned with voting. I think that if I were to check out that Facebook group I would be more motivated to vote.” – Chelsey Spruell, Junior broadcast journalism Major
“I think that at our age we want to make a difference, but we feel like we cannot. I think it also has a lot to do with the laziness factor. I agree that if I were to see the Facebook page, I would be more motivated. Right now I look at candidates and I am like, who is that person? If we were made more aware of who was running, I think it would further our interest.”- Maria Turinetti, junior broadcast journalism major
“I’ll vote in [November], but not the primary. If I were to see the Facebook page, I would be more likely to vote. I was looking up some stuff on the election about a week ago, and it was difficult for me to find what I was looking for.” - Andrew Clesen junior communication major emphasis in organization and leadership
“I have actually been an election judge for the last two years here at ISU. Last year during the presidential election, in the [polling location] inside the Bone, there were only 35 student voters between two precincts that we accommodate. Of all of the students who live on campus, and I think that’s something like 10,000 students, only 35 voted. They say that on an election where Normal was voting for its Major, if ISU were to run a student, they would only need 5,000 votes to be able to dictate who the mayor of Normal was. The major gets to dictate who the chief of police is, and the chief of police gets to choose what the police force arrests for, a lot about residential life in general. So voting is really important.” - Dalton Stevens, Junior sociology and public relations double major