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Students react to midterm election results, high student voter turnout

November 9, 2022
The East Lansing community waits in line to cast their votes on Election Day at East Lansing City Hall on Nov. 8, 2022.
The East Lansing community waits in line to cast their votes on Election Day at East Lansing City Hall on Nov. 8, 2022. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Michigan's midterm election brought on a record in voter turnout.

At Brody Hall on campus, students stood in line for upwards of four hours line to register in their college town and cast their vote.

“It was really amazing (to see the turnout) because our generation is the largest and most diverse, and yet people don't really turn out to vote," political theory and constitutional democracy junior Eva Leveckis said. "Seeing a lot of college students voting was really exciting.”

History education junior Alivia Young said that the turnout and the long lines, gave her better hope for the younger generation and the future of politics. It was a great relief, she said, to see her views reflected in the outcome of the races.

“I felt very relieved," Young said. "I was feeling very anxious yesterday, all day, because basically our human rights were in the balance. When I woke up this morning, I was like, ‘Great, we don't live in a dystopian society.’”

Social relations and policy senior Abbigail Foss said that while she lost sleep waiting on results, she knew that the young voter turnout was going to influence the results she wanted to see from Michigan.

“I think that it's a really big win," Foss said. "I also think the number of young voters turning out is a huge win not only for democracy as a whole, but also for our generation and showing how interested we are in political activism, especially with things directly affecting so many of us who like (Proposal 3) … So it was a very exciting, very emotionally charged night and morning.”

Many students who waited in line to vote were concerned about the passage of Proposal 3, which will put codify abortion rights and use of contraceptives into the Michigan constitution.

“The thing that was biggest for me was the protection of my reproductive rights," digital storytelling freshman Charlotte Moorehouse said. "That's why I voted ‘yes’ on proposal three and voted for Whitmer and Elissa Slotkin. I'm happy that Whitmer is able to be our governor again because I know that she's going to fight for those rights for us. That's something that mattered the most to me when I was voting.”

Young said that she feels lucky to live in a state that allowed the constituents to vote on their own rights to abortion.

"I'm just so grateful that there were enough people who felt that women should have a voice for themselves, and that men shouldn't make the decisions for them," Young said.

Along with Proposal 3, many young voters had their eye on the Governor's race. Foss said that Whitmer holding her place in office was not only a win for reproductive rights, but also a win over changes candidate Tudor Dixon wanted to implement into her home state.

“I think about things like education, where Tudor Dixon was looking to defund education and ban books in schools, as well as target LGBTQ+ children," Foss said.

Foss was happy to see that the crew of politicians who visited campus on Monday, including Jocelyn Benson and Dana Nelson, also won reelection. She was impressed that Democrats won control of the Michigan Legislature for the first time since 1983.

Elissa Slotkin and Tom Barrett's congressional contest was closely followed by some students. Slotkin won the race early Wednesday morning.

“I was very nervous about that race because it wasn't looking good at first, but I'm really glad that she pulled through because I think she's a great representative," Young said.

Moorehouse credits the voter turnout to Roe v. Wade mobilizing young voters. She said younger people are seeing how they can influence their own community in a democratic sense.

“I think that in the past, young people have had this stigma that they don't have a voice and that their vote doesn't really matter as much as it does," Moorehouse said. “There's power in numbers, and I think all of the young people (are voting in) numbers that we've never seen before. I think it's great.”

Leveckis said that the vote was predicted to be much closer than it was, expecting more from the expected "Red Wave."

“Students really turned out in ways that we just didn't really expect, especially with younger people who were staying on campus …There were so many people at Brody voting, which was crazy to see," Leveckis said. “I just think people don't really take that into account, especially because it's like a midterm election.”

However, Leveckis was proud to see her community turning out to an election that is perceived them as less consequential than the presidential election.

“I think midterms are really important because while the presidential elections are important, I think we lose sight that local elections are really important and who's in your state legislatures are really important too," Leveckis said. "I think we lose sight of that. I think people should vote in midterms because it's equally as important.”

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