With the White House, Congress and the control of the state Legislature on the line Tuesday, University of Minnesota students flocked to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in a variety of local and national races.
Many stopped by community centers, churches and other voting spots to cast ballots for the first time early Tuesday. Students were encouraged to participate in the days leading up to the election, as well as the day of, by multiple campus leaders, including student government members and University President Eric Kaler.
At least 9,000 students registered to vote before Oct. 27 — more than all other university campuses in the U.S at the time.
In an email to students and faculty Monday, Kaler stressed the importance of voting in local elections, such as those for state representatives and state Supreme Court justices. All 201 seats in the state Legislature were up for election.
“We in Minnesota are known for our high voter turnout and I'm sure this year will be no different,” Kaler said in the email.
Although Minnesota is a traditionally blue state, there was still some division between voters on campus, even those who came to the polls together.
Despite losing the election to Donald Trump, the reality TV star and businessman, many of the students interviewed by the Minnesota Daily said they cast their vote — some reluctantly — for Hilary Clinton.
Students interviewed by the Daily often brought up college affordability, immigration issues and healthcare.
Voters reported mostly short waits at polling places and reported few other issues. Many were surprised over how quick they were in and out of polling places.
In a Tuesday morning email, the Minnesota Student Association urged the student body to vote and detailed the steps necessary for same-day voting registration.
Last week, the Office of Undergrad Education and the Office for Student Affairs emailed students a reminder that the University wouldn’t excuse class absences on Election Day.
Instead, students had to work around class schedules to reach polling locations. Still, some teachers cancelled classes on Tuesday to allow students to vote.
At a Minnesota Student Association viewing party, Kristina Mann, an anthropology major who voted in her first general election, said her heart dropped as Clinton continued to trail throughout the night.
“There will be a lot more racial tensions, college tuition won’t change [and] women won’t get respect,” she said.
Friends Ellie Barrett, 19, and journalism senior Rachel Lutchen both voted in their first presidential election at Van Cleve Park in Southeast Como.
Barrett said she voted for Trump, while Lutchen cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton.
“I agree with a lot of the issues that she stands for such as the environment, education … immigration, women’s rights,” Lutchen said.
Still, her friend’s vote of confidence in Clinton wasn’t enough to convince Barrett.
“I don’t think the Clintons should get back in the White House because Hillary lies,” she said.
Nicole Lutz, University mortuary science junior, said she voted for Trump at the First Congregational Church polling place near campus.
Although she disliked both candidates, Lutz said her vote came down to the candidates for vice president, adding she hopes Mike Pence will “give direction” to Trump’s presidency.
She said it was hard to vote in favor of women’s rights, and didn’t feel as though either candidate supported women.
University graduate Eric Reller, 28, said at Pratt Community Education Center that he voted for Clinton because Trump’s “job resume” doesn’t compare to hers.
“I mean, one person has spent the last 30 years of her life dedicated to public service, while the other person has spent the last 30 years to his own self- service, gaining his own wealth,” Reller said. “He’s self-serving, and I can’t throw my vote away to that.”
At an election night party in Murphy Hall, Christopher Terry, an assistant journalism professor, said he wasn’t entirely surprised by the outcome of the presidential election.
He said weak polling and a weak Clinton campaign were to blame for the unexpected result.
“What you’re seeing here is a heavy turnout by core Republican voters,” Terry said.