Students voting at a University of Wisconsin Green Bay polling location reported waiting almost an hour to cast their ballot. About 80-90% of voters at this Green Bay location also had to register on election day. While students at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point who also had to register reported waiting in line for 2 hours. Even though they experienced long lines students did not give up! One girl waited in line while watching Netflix. A few students at the University of Wisconsin Madison were turned away from the polls, a couple minutes before 8pm, for lack of proper identification and no time to acquire the student Voter ID. As we look ahead to November we want to reduce the time it takes for students to vote by preregistering them and ensuring that they have the proper form of Identification ahead of the election.
Most Wisconsin campuses had efforts to register students ahead of the primary and will now look to expanding those efforts for November. Students at the University of Wisconsin Madison held a “Fight for Your Right Under the Moonlight” event on March 15th where they registered students to vote, provided information on acceptable voter ID and handed out pizza. The event saw over 800 students get registered in 3 hours! Efforts at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire included registering students to vote during all week tabling events in their student union the week before open registration closed. These types of efforts proved successful and students who were preregistered on election day reported having fewer difficulties and experienced shorter lines.
As a whole, we are excited by student’s election enthusiasm and we want to further encourage their participation. On the other hand, we do not want long lines and improper identification to discourage students from casting their ballot. Extending information on voter ID, registration efforts, and voter education campaigns will ensure all students are prepared to vote in November.