Western Carolina University kicked off its first day of early voting in the University Center on Thursday, Oct. 27.
Professor and head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs, Chris Cooper, said in an email message, that 465 ballots were cast. Over 130 more ballots than at the Cullowhee Recreation Center, which had 334 ballots.
“Yesterday, the WCU location outpaced even the Jackson County Board of Elections site (465-394),” added Cooper.
Assistant director of Jackson County Board of Elections, Mary Seltzer, said that the voter turnout was successful.
“[The turnout] was very very strong this morning. We sort of got backed up a little bit because we had a few little technology issues, but quickly got those under control. It’s definitely been several hundred that we’ve processed. If this continues, we plan to have plenty more people come out and vote. We hope the students continue to come,” said Seltzer.
WCU students make up 25 percent of Jackson County voters and turned out for the March primaries at a higher rate than the general voting population. The WCU Student Democracy Coalition is hoping that 75 percent of the students eligible to vote will go out and cast their vote. Almost half of the voters yesterday were neither Democrat or Republican, but unaffiliated.
With early voting on campus this year, students don’t have to drive or take the bus to go to the polls.
“Our goal at the Board of elections is to do what we can to make it as easy to vote as possible, that’s why we call early voting no excuse voting,” said Seltzer.
Student volunteer Kristina White, says students are lucky to have voting on campus.
“I think it’s awesome that we have early voting on campus because early voting is everywhere, but this is so much more convenient, especially because I once lived on campus and I hated walking the 15 minutes to the parking lot to get my car to go somewhere, even to go grocery shopping. It’s so much more convenient than having to go somewhere else,” said White.
While there were different varieties of people who came out to participate in early voting, White said there were more freshmen than any other class. According to the statistics from Cooper over 23 percent of voter’s age voting yesterday was below 30. Over 5o percent of them were females.
Freshman Chris Rasche, says that he was excited to get to vote and that it is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“It’s a big election and it’s kind of my responsibility. I feel well especially since we’re in North Carolina, it’s a swing state, so I feel like a vote in this state counts more than it does in other states so it’s more of a responsibility,” said Rasche.
For more information about the times and dates of early voting, visit the WCU voting information page or call the Jackson County Board of Elections at 828-586-7538.