University Park, Pa- Tuesday’s midterm election also saw a spike in voter turnout throughout the region compared to previous mid-terms. That included students at Penn state who got out to vote in what could be record numbers.
Penn State officials are still polling the number of student voters from previous midterm elections to see if they did break the record for voter turnout. Today a Penn State officials told WTAJ they more than doubled the number of student voters since the 2014 mid-term…. which jumped from about 2,000 voters to nearly 7,000.
“Our students are much more engaged and aware of the issues that have arisen in terms of the mid-term elections this year, ” said Tim Balliett, Director of PSU’s Center for Character, Conscious, and Public Papers.
Balliett feels Penn State took a big step on election day… not only with a spike in election turnout, but student’s awareness of the issues. Something he feels a little friendly competition didn’t hurt.
“We also this year are participating in the Big-Ten voter challenge, where all of the Big-Ten Universities are competing for the greatest voter turnout, but also the greatest improvement in voter turnout,” Balliett said.
And while the Big-Ten voter numbers will only come out this spring, Balliett feels PSU has a good shot at both awards.
His confidence is showcased by one all-student precinct that had a 600% increase in voters.
He says it comes as a result of getting more students registered:
“We really made a concerted effort to increase voter registration this year, we were really pleased with the number of students who did so… And we were happy to see the increase in those who came to the polls this year as a result.”