UTD students joined the rest of the country last Tuesday in voting in the midterm elections. For several voters, this election was different from past cycles.
Students such as emerging media and communications senior Justin Stephens reflected on the competitive nature of the race. Stephens cited rallies for candidates such as Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who lost the Texas Senate race to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.
“I saw a lot of push for the other students to register. Especially on weekends,” Stephens said, “There was a rally, too, for Beto, where a lot of people were recommending for me to go to.”
Accounting senior and chair of Student Government’s legislative committee Ben Darling said SG held several events throughout the election to register students to vote.
“We were going pretty hardcore on registration. We ended up registering over 500 people,” Darling said. “We had booths every single week at the Plinth, we had people going in the classes, we went to (residential life) events and then there was a few select other events that we registered people at.”
Stephens, who voted in previous elections, said he noticed this election was taken more seriously than past midterm races.
“I saw a little more urgency and people trying to get out and vote,” Stephens said.”
Richardson City Secretary Aimee Nemer said she noticed a rise in voter numbers early on.
“They have increased the voter turnout, for sure. We are a polling place for early voting for the November elections, always,” Nemer said. “I definitely could tell by the numbers and the lines that there was more interest and more voter turnout.”
Psychology junior Aliayah Himelfarb said she found herself becoming more aware of the politics surrounding each candidate during this election.
“I didn’t pay as much attention in the 2016 election. I voted, but I wasn’t really paying attention to the media and the news,” Himelfarb said. “To me it did seem different, but (it) might just be that I was paying more attention.”
Koby Kim, a healthcare studies freshman, said although he doesn’t usually get involved in politics, he regretted not voting in this race.
“I try to distance myself from politics. I find that it usually sparks a lot of arguments and disagreements, and I don’t want any of that,” Kim said. “I did not register in time. I realized afterwards how important it actually was.”
Kim said he now believes that voting is a civic duty. Some students said they wanted to vote, but didn’t have the time or transportation. Val Campbell, a computer science freshman, said he had complications when it came down to actually voting on Election Day.
“I did register in time, but I was unable to find a way to get to the (polling) place,” Campbell said.
On Election Day, Student Government offered free transportation to the polls. Campbell said he knew about the service, but ended up not having the time to vote, citing wait times of up to two hours to cast a ballot.
Despite some students not being able to go vote, Nemer said the spike in voter turnout for the midterm elections could become increasingly common.
“I do think it’s a trend,” Nemer said. “It seems like more people are interested in what the government is doing and want to be involved and make sure their voices are heard.”