Election 2015

Bird Library sees low voter turnout on Election Day

Frankie Prijatel | Staff Photographer

A typical turnout for general election polling at Bird Library is about 35 voters, but 38 of the 1,200 voters who are registered to vote at Bird Library showed up to the polls on Tuesday.

Only 38 of the 1,200 voters who are registered to vote at Bird Library showed up to the polls on Tuesday.

This year’s ballot included races for county executive, comptroller, county clerk, city councilors, commissioners of education and the heated race for city auditor between current auditor Marty Masterpole, a Democrat, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.

The polls at Bird Library were open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Margaret McKinley, a voting system specialist at the Bird Library Polling Center, said she did not expect a large turnout. As of 9:45 a.m., only five voters had visited the polls. She said a typical turnout for general election polling at Bird Library is about 35 voters.

McKinley relates the low turnout to the fact that the election is local rather than national.

“When Obama ran in 2012, we closed the polls at 9 p.m. but the line of people still stretched around the library,” McKinley said. “There were 300 to 400 people waiting in line after the polls closed.”

Another reason McKinley cited for the lack of voters is personal disinterest.

“Maybe they are frustrated with what elected officials are doing or have become disillusioned with the electoral process,” she said.

McKinley said she sees a few students vote, but noted that the majority of the students at Syracuse University are registered to vote in places other than Onondaga County.

Danielle Schaf, a freshman anthropology major from Nebraska, voted on Tuesday at Bird Library.

In the past, Schaf was stopped while walking on the Quad and asked if she would like to register to vote, which led to her participation in Tuesday’s election.

“If I hadn’t been stopped on the Quad, it probably would have slipped my mind,” Schaf said.

She said she believes it is important for students to vote because they will be the ones leading the country in a few years, and attributes their lack of participation to their being uninformed.

“I felt like I wanted to vote,” Schaf said. “My vote does matter.”

Jack Woltman, a sophomore international relations major, voted at Bird after receiving a reminder call.

“I had never voted in Bird before, but it was a perfect location for students,” Woltman said.

He said he believes that many students don’t vote due to where their polling place is located. Students who live on South Campus have a different polling place, at Drumlins Country Club, which Woltman said is not as accessible.

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