San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Midterm Election turnout overwhelms SDSU Polling Station

With wait times of three hours or more, SDSU Polling Station cited issues with an influx of unregistered voters
Graph by Christian Houser
Historical youth (ages 18-29) vote choice in national elections for candidates to the House of Representatives from data collected from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement’s analysis of Edison Research National Election Pool exit poll data.

Midterm elections occurred on a rainy Nov. 8, and the San Diego State University polling station experienced an unprecedented influx of voters, resulting in voters waiting in three hours or more for their turn at the ballot box. 

On Election Day, 492 people voted in person at the SDSU polling station. Well over half, 275, needed to conditionally register and vote provisionally. This process took additional time and resulted in long wait times, according to The San Diego Registrar of Voters. 

Voters were also seen researching candidates and props while sitting at the limited ballot boxes, further extending the wait time.

Early estimates show that 27% of youths (18-29) cast a ballot in the 2022 elections, according to the Center for Information and Research On Civic Learning Learning and Engagement. This would be the second highest youth turnout in three decades.

The University of California, San Diego, was the only polling station that surpassed the amount of conditionally registered voters at SDSU. 

Robson Winter, a senior political science major and the chair of the SDSU Rock the Vote campaign, said he believed that some of the delay could be chalked up to chronic college student procrastination. 

“While long lines are not ideal, the fact that people were willing to wait really says something about our generation’s excitement to vote,” said Winter. “I am really happy with how the campaign went.”

Julia Lloren, a senior theater and political science major, was among the voters that waited for three hours. Lloren voiced that in years past the process was seamless and took at most 20 minutes.

“I was talking to many others in line for hours and we felt like this year was a tad unorganized,” Lloren said. “A lot of people were confused with the three separate lines and we were not provided information on who we were voting for like in years before.”

The Registrar of Voters requested Montezuma Hall, where the station had been in years past, but was unavailable due to a career fair. The station was moved to the smaller SDSU Aztec Student Union-Templo Mayor room.

Many people did not know you could vote in person for up to four days before Election Day. The SDSU polling station opened on Nov. 5, it saw five voters on the first two days and 45 on the day prior to Election Day. Among the unaware was Jacob Eli Maldonado, a senior psychology major.

“I did not know you could vote in person in the days preceding the election,” Maldonado said. “I thought it was only the day of.”

Twenty states, including California, currently offer same day voter registration.

The ballot boxes experienced a similar phenomenon where votes were submitted on the last day. Over 1,300 of the 1,600 ballots were collected at the drop box outside the library.

The SDSU Rock the Vote campaign was tasked with spreading education about the voting process and ensuring students were educated on what was on the ballot. They signed up over 500 students to register to vote in this election. 

Winter suggested leniency among professors, whether that be letting class out early or assigning a lighter load during Election week to allow students time to sufficiently research what was on the ballot and time to stand in lines. 

According to SDSU’s Rock the Vote, unprecedented youth turnout is allegedly a factor that stopped the expected ‘red wave’ that was expected in these midterm elections.

“It is important to vote because students and young people have a chance to create the future that they dream of,” said Winters. “Voting takes time to make a real impact and if we start voting now those changes will happen.”

More information on future elections can be found at SDSU’s Rock the Vote Instagram

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Midterm Election turnout overwhelms SDSU Polling Station