Thirty-two honors students responded to the call for people to man the polls in Jenkins Hall and in Rogers Student Center, filling all the slots within a day or two.
“We are hoping to get students thinking about the process of voting and casting a ballot and participating in democracy,” T. J. McLemore, English professor and honors program coordinator, said.
The straw poll for the presidential election took place 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2012. This was in conjunction with the last day to register in order to vote in the presidential election. A short, one-page fact sheet on candidates’ positions was also available at each polling place.
“The positions of the politicians, the facts behind the election, can get lost in all the emotional and sensational media junk,” McLemore said.
At about 10 a.m., the poll in Jenkins reported that only 14 people had voted. They tried to catch people between classes. They also had five people register to vote during the first two hours of the polling.
“We’ve had two people run away from us even though this is just a mock election,” Kayla Head, sophomore biology major, said.
At 10:15 a.m., the honors students managing the poll in Rogers reported that they had about 45 people vote. Eight people also registered to vote and a couple of people changed their addresses on their voter’s registration.
Right next to the straw poll at the information desk in Rogers, the homecoming election was running. The homecoming election was held Oct. 8 and 9. By 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 9, 538 people had voted for homecoming kings and queens.
For the presidential straw poll, having the two elections right next to each other was a draw back and a draw at the same time. As the numbers testify, the homecoming election overshadowed the straw poll. But there was a benefit.
“If they are waiting in line (for homecoming), they are trickling over and voting here,” said honors student, Julie Speaks, sophomore speech communications major.
At the end of the day, 292 students cast their ballots in the presidential straw poll at TJC. The results came in with Obama winning by 52%, Romney 40%, Johnson (Libertarian Party) 4% and Stein (Green Party) 4%.
Although the results of the poll are not scientific, what can be extrapolated from this event is the extent of interest in the upcoming presidential election.
“We are hopeful that this gets students interested and active in political events in the community,” McLemore said.
Student Life Editor