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CSU students reflect on voting as they leave the polls

Students at Colorado State University lined up Nov. 3 to cast their ballots, many of them voting for the first time. 

According to data released by CNN this year, there were more than 100 million people who voted nationwide before Election Day. These votes made up more than 47% of registered voters. 

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In 2020, 18- to 23-year-olds are one of largest groups of voters. In 2019, a report from the Pew Research Center projected that this age group would make up 1 in 10 eligible voters in the 2020 electorate. 

“I think, for a lot of people, (life is) definitely going to be affected, especially directly after. I think there’s going to be a lot of unrest, regardless of who wins.”-Morgan Bartran, CSU senior

“Among 18- to 29-year-olds, voter turnout went from 20% in 2014 to 36% in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group — a 79% jump,” according to 2019 data provided by the United States Census Bureau

CSU students were able to vote by dropping off their ballot or voting in person at the Lory Student Center.

“In the last election, I was 17,” junior Aubrey Johnston said. “It’s pretty crazy because, finally, I feel like I can have an impact on what happens, and (it) becomes way more real once you show up and you see everyone doing it.” 

Freshman Liz Tiefenbach explained the overwhelming feeling of voting for the first time, stating that researching was one of the more difficult parts. 

“Because it’s such a high-stakes election, (it) felt somehow oddly important,” Tiefenbach said. “I had to be fully educated on every single candidate on the ballot. It was a little overwhelming in that sense, but it also felt really good to be able to participate for once instead of just observing.”

Junior Alberto Maldonado stated that it felt good to vote, explaining that it is necessary for everyone to do so. 

Freshman Kiron Blazek shared the same sentiment, stating that it is everyone’s duty to be a voter. 

Junior political science major Idali Rodriguez said waiting for election results was stressful, stating that a lot of students were experiencing anxiety. 

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“It’s really, really nerve-wracking right now,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not trying to look at social media or anything like that to try and cope with what is going on.”

People stand in booths with plastic dividers
People talk with election judges in a voter service and polling center in the Lory Student Center Nov. 3. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Tiefenbach explained that they are not trying to think about election results. 

“There’s a lot of stress, and there’s a lot of anticipation and anxiety surrounding everything,” Tiefenbach said. “I’m definitely going to be keeping myself updated, but I’m not going to try and overwhelm myself with that information.” 

Senior Morgan Bartran said that, although they won’t be directly impacted, others may be. 

“I think, for a lot of people, (life is) definitely going to be affected, especially directly after,” Bartran said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of unrest, regardless of who wins.”

Johnston echoed Bartran’s thoughts, explaining that violence is a concern after the election results.  

“I’m a little scared of (the election) because I feel like, especially because of (COVID-19), tensions are high and people have been kind of bottled up,” Johnston said. “So I’m a little scared just for violence, honestly. I hope that nothing horrible happens.”

a Biden flag and a Trump flag in a window
A single dorm room with a Biden flag and a Trump flag Nov 2. “I think having a conversation on issues will get a lot more done than saying screw you,” said Ben Morse, one of the roommates. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

The University provided a polling station for people to go vote, which allowed for increased accessibility, Rodriguez said. 

“Allowing students to have the opportunity to have a local spot is definitely really helpful,” Rodriguez said. “It’s definitely really accessible for students (who) don’t have the option back home.” 

Maldonado also said that it was essential to have a place on campus for people to cast their votes. 

“Not everyone has the accessibility to go out and vote in a poll or mail in their vote,” Maldonado said. “So it’s important that we have these places so we can have a fair shot, so we can show our voice.”

Laura Studley can be reached as news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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