NMU students encounter long lines on Election Day


When Northern students went to the polls to vote they were confronted with long lines and occasional voting problems.

Lines at the YMCA to vote for precinct six, a precinct which includes on campus housing and off campus student housing, reached as long as three hours at times Tuesday afternoon.

Ryan Smith, a junior history major, waited in line for several hours to cast his vote – even ordering a sub to be delivered to him while he waited. He said that in the end it would be worth waiting to take part in this year’s election.

“I’d wait as long as it takes,” he said. “I would sit here for eight hours if I had to.”

He added that while waiting in line wasn’t the highlight of his day, the voter turnout was good to see.

“It’s kind of discouraging walking into the building and seeing the long lines, but at the same time it’s encouraging to see all the people voting,” he said.

Volunteers from various campaigns and members of the Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU), Northern’s, helped hand out bottles of water and snacks to voters waiting in the lines.

ASNMU President Hobie Webster said he was at the polling center because he wanted to ensure that everyone who wanted to vote had the opportunity to.

“Students and people in the community are giving up a considerable amount of time to vote. I just wanted to make sure they were taken care of,” he said.

Webster said he was impressed with the youth voter turnout that he saw at the YMCA.

“I can’t help but be stunned by the student turnout,” he said. “Community members, professors and people all across the nation are stunned because the college students showed up and they decided this election.”

For some students who tried to vote, the long lines were not the only hassle. A handful of students reported getting turned away from the polling location at the YMCA when they showed up to vote without a photo ID. According to Michigan election law if a voter cannot show a photo ID they are still allowed to vote provided they sign an affidavit.

Other Northern students were turned away from the polling locations due to apparent errors in voter registration.

“It makes me feel dehumanized,” NMU freshman Zach Schomp said after he was turned away from voting due to errors in registration. “I did my job and now they aren’t letting me vote. I’m frustrated. I knew I had to register and now I have no way of knowing what went wrong.”

Schomp said he had waited in line for over a half hour before he was told he was unable to vote.

At least nine students were turned away from the YMCA location between 3-5 p.m. due to missing or improper voter registration. Similar problems were also reported by students who tried to vote at the Marquette Armory and the voting location at the Marquette City Hall.

Poll workers instructed the voters being sent away to go to the Michigan Web site to check the status of their voter registration. According to workers, it is not uncommon for problems of this nature to occur.