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Monday, December 04, 2023

Student voter turnout on campus remained low in Tuesday's elections.

Out of the 4,173 voters registered at the Reitz Union, 119 voted.

Low student turnout is not unusual for city elections.

In the March City Commission race, 57 people voted at the Reitz Union precinct — 4,471 people were registered to vote. In the mayoral race in March 2010, 85 people voted at the Reitz Union out of 4,465 registered voters.

Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said the Reitz Union is the main precinct for students who live on-campus. Off-campus students vote at precincts across the city.

"I always wonder why the younger population doesn't turn out to vote," Carpenter said. "This election is bipartisan, so it allows everyone to get involved and be heard."

Jeremy O'Neal, a 24-year-old environmental engineering master's student, said he was too busy with schoolwork to research the candidates before election day.

Tyler Payne said he didn't vote in the city elections because city elections in his hometown are more important.

"I just feel more connected to my city government at home," said Payne, a 21-year-old business management and religion senior.

After he voted Tuesday, 19-year-old Frank Plageman spent the afternoon encouraging students to vote at the Reitz Union.

Plageman, who is from Jupiter, said he thinks the biggest reason students do not vote in city elections is because of their apathy toward City Commission.

"What students don't realize is that if they spoke up, the City Commission would listen to them," the political science sophomore said. "Then, the commission would be less likely to create an ordinance that students don't like."

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Carpenter said she urges students to vote in the runoff election on Feb. 28.

"You have another opportunity to have your voice heard," she said. "Students really should participate."

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