Illinois State University students said in-person voting on Election Day has been relatively quick and easy so far.
The McLean County Clerk's office added a second polling site for ISU at Watterson Towers this year to reduce long wait times that voters have encountered during previous presidential and midterm elections.
Sophomore Douglas Williams said as a first-time voter, he came prepared.
“It was very straight forward in terms of voting,” Williams said after casting his ballot at Watterson Towers. “It was good experience for someone who has never voted before.”
As of 1 p.m., 57 ballots were cast at the site out of a maximum of about 3,000 eligible voters. A socially distanced line of about eight people gathered outside the Rosa Parks Room.
Election judges expect lines will get longer later in the day, though they believe the expansion of mail-in voting and a new countywide voting center at Grossinger Motors Arena will keep the lines shorter.
Several ISU students said they are taking advantage of the new state holiday to cast their ballots on Election Day, including freshman Josef McClenning.
“We didn’t have classes so we actually had time to go and vote,” McClenning said.
Freshman Elle Nelson said she voted Tuesday rather than request a mail-in ballot or vote early because she wanted to be part of the Election Day experience.
“The atmosphere was really exciting today,” Nelson said. “It was nerve-wracking a little bit and I decided to join everyone in voting today with a huge wave of people that were all doing it.”
Nelson said she also enjoyed the initiation she received as a first-time voter. Elections staff broke out in applause after she said she was a new voter.
Freshman Eva Shapkauski said wanted to vote before Tuesday, but a bout with mono kept her from voting early. She said she expects voter participation will be strong on campus.
“There’s definitely some strong sides on either end, so everyone is just pushing for their side at this point,” Shapkauski said. “Everybody tells everybody else to vote.”
Shapkauski said she registered and voted at Bone Student Center in 20 minutes. A line of about 12 people had collected outside Brown Ballroom entrance shortly before 2 p.m.
Ninety people had cast ballots at Bone Student Center at of 1 p.m.
The polls remain open until 7 p.m.
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