Strong turnout in Cullowhee precinct

Today is the day that determines the next four years for our country’s government. The polls of Jackson County have been open since 6:30 a.m. this morning having students, teachers, residents, etc. of the Cullowhee precinct voting.

Outside the recreational center are democrats and republicans helping campaign for each side. First Vice Chairman of the Jackson County GOP, Jim Mueller was out in front hoping to talk to people about their vote.

“We are hoping we’ll hit 1,000 [voters]. At 10 o’clock, we had 214,” said Chief of Justice Robert Shelton on the projected number of people to come in and vote.

At noon there were over 400 people that voted.

Cullowhee precinct has over 6,000 voters this election, and 2,068 voted early according to Shelton.

Volunteer, Jessica Green, helps first time voter. Photo by: Marysa Burchett

Mindy Mudge, a volunteer at the precinct, said she has seen a good turn out and expects to see more voters as the day goes on and people are able to come.

The first voting shuttle van that was giving rides for students to the rec center from the University Center arrived around 9:45 a.m. and dropped off three students. As the shuttle kept coming approximately every 20 minutes, the number of students stayed steady with student voters.  The shuttle will run until 7 p.m.

“I’m doing it (driving) because it is something that needs to be done,” said Kaleb Ticknor, a volunteer shuttle van driver and the head of the Honors College Voter Initiative.

During the ride, he explained the process of voting. “It is an electronic panel to vote. The first one that is up is the president and then you have option of a straight ticket. If you vote for a straight ticket, that does not vote for president.” The straight ticket allows you to vote on the rest of the ballot as Democratic, Republican or Libertarian.

Those that did not vote early and came to the rec center instead were very hesitant to talk about their choices. When asked how they felt after they voted and many were indifferent or impartial. One student said it felt like an accomplishment, getting it done.

Voters in the gym of Jackson County Rec Center. Photo by: Marysa Burchett

“I voted for Romney because of three things: Obama is for abortion, not with Israel and for gay marriage. I didn’t vote for local people and left it blank because I didn’t know who they were,” said Josh Davis, a WCU senior.

Roderick Wilson would not disclose whom he voted for but is excited to hear the results.

Michael To is a campus organizer from Cleveland, Ohio who works for North Carolina Public Interest Research Group(NCPIRG), which has a partnership with the Center for Service Learning. His job is to make sure that students get registered and then out to vote. He joined Ticknor every so often making his way through the rec center and back to the UC to assure students are voting.