Voter turnout statistics -bkm -dlh

Beth McHenry

Along with organizing an intensive voter registration drive and numerous Election Day activities, the Lawrence University College Democrats compiled statistics on Lawrence’s voter turnout for the presidential election last November. Results indicate that Lawrentians exhibited a surprisingly high percentage of voter turnout at the polls.
College Dems hope that, in the future, student political organizations will be able to use the statistics to gauge their own successes and student involvement on campus.
In order to accurately measure student turnout at the polls, College Dems first cross-referenced a list of students from the dean of students against a list of registered Appleton voters. The names of students who live off-campus or are ineligible to vote were removed from the list. According to Kass Kuehl, president of LU College Dems, “In the future, it is our hope that all eligible Lawrentians would be able to be counted in turnout statistics.”
Results from the study showed that of Lawrence’s pool of 1,080 eligible voters, the College Dems were able to reach 71 percent, or 762 students. Of this sample, 73 percent, or 558 students, voted in Appleton on or prior to Election Day. 27 percent ********– 204 students *******– voted absentee. Only 11 students in the sample did not vote, meaning that less than 1 percent of the sample did not vote.
These numbers appear very encouraging, especially in light of national voter turnout in young adults. Says Kuehl, “This proves that our campus, regardless of position and however quiet at times, is not apathetic.”
Students were contacted and counted by the College Dems in three ways. First, before students left Lawrence for their polling places via University vans, they were required to register with a College Dems representative stationed at a table in the Wriston turnaround. Representatives checked off each student and made sure that each had proper documentation.
College Dems also ran a phone bank from Riverview Lounge on Election Day. Students reached by phone were asked if they had voted, in Appleton or absentee.
Following Election Day, College Dems e-mailed each student and again asked whether they had voted.
Kuehl adds that community and political involvement should not “lay dormant” between election years. “I would encourage all those who took the time and energy to vote to examine why they voted for a certain candidate and channel those values into other campus causes, such as Amnesty International, V-Day, College Dems, College Republicans, Greenfire, and Habitat for Humanity. The only way that voter turnout will truly matter is if we challenge our leaders while in office to live up to those expectations we had when we voted for or against them.