Campus polls set for presidential election

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Students wait in line to vote in the BSC during the 2008 elections. Ryan Giacomino/University News

Voting in the 2012 general election is easy for Saint Louis University students this year, as the school is hosting a polling place in the Busch Student Center specifically geared toward students at the University.

“It really makes it easy, especially since I don’t have real transportation. If it was too far, it would be too difficult to vote,” said freshman Erica Seal. “It also encouraged me to register to vote in Missouri rather than vote absentee.”

The BSC polling place was put in place to cater to students who registered to vote using their student mailbox at the address “20 N. Grand Blvd.” The polling place was opened in an effort to make voting more convenient for students who may not have transportation or might be from out of state.

The polls will be set up in the Saint Louis Room, located on the third floor of the BSC in Room 300, and will open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6 and will close at 7 p.m. In order to vote at this locations, voters will need to present either their SLU ID, an ID issued by the federal government or the state of Missouri, or a driver’s license or state identification card from another state.

“It definitely helps for students who may not have voted otherwise because traveling would have been a hassle,” said Kenneth Warren, a professor in the Department of Political Science and SLU’s resident expert on polling and political campaigns. “Though there are usually polls around SLU, naturally, having a polling place on campus, a lot more students would come out to vote than normally.”

The first time the BSC featured a polling place for students was during the 2008 election. That year, approximately 1,000 SLU students utilized the location. For the upcoming election, it has not yet been released how many student have registered for the BSC location.

According to Dean of Students Mona Hicks, however, approximately 500 students registered to vote through the SLU voter registration drives.

“I want our students to have the opportunity to serve through opportunities like Make a Difference day but also the opportunity to exercise your right to vote to enact social change in those communities in which we serve,” Hicks said, “For example, it is my hope that students learn and have the opportunity to address clean up at a public school but also vote for leadership and resources that maintain and advance the learning in that public school.”

Hicks also said that she feels that having a polling place at SLU is appropriate because civic learning and democratic engagement is an important part of the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission and is an important endeavor for students’ future as members of the larger community.

Many students agree with Hicks, stating that the presence of a polling place on campus is a positive addition that will make voting on Nov. 6 easier.

“I like having a voting place here,” said senior Joseph Cacchione. “ It’s my first time voting and having a polling location in the BSC is actually why I registered to vote here and not absentee.”

Students who are not sure if they are registered to vote in the BSC or in a polling location off campus can look up their designated location online at the Missouri Secretary of State’s Missouri Voting Rights website.