Although the number of Northwest students who vote is unknown, they are capable of having a significant impact on the midterm election Nov. 6 in Nodaway County.
American Northwest students made up 31 percent of Nodaway residents over the age of 18 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s website, Nodaway County had a 72.55 percent voter turnout in 2016, the sixth highest in the state and 11.15 percent higher than the national average.
This could indicate one of two things: either non-students in Nodaway have an abnormally high voter turnout, or Northwest students turn out to vote significantly more than their peers, in spite of many students voting in their home state or county and not counting toward the Nodaway numbers.
According to a 2017 Tufts University study, nationally, college student voter turnout was below 50 percent in 2016.
Sophomore Anna DeTienne said she is not planning on voting this year because she doesn’t feel informed enough to vote.
“I wasn’t planning on it because I’m not the type of person that gets into voting,” DeTienne said. “Another thing is that I have no clue about the stances people are talking about, and I have no need to find out. If I did know or someone told me more about it, then I would probably consider voting.”
Sophomore Jasper Logan said he plans on voting because he wants to see the changes under the current administration continue.
“I plan to vote in the midterms because over the past two years, we have seen record low unemployment, tax cuts, judicial appointees and more,” Logan said. “I believe it is important to elect congressmen who will fight to continue advancing President Trump’s agenda in Washington, as well as local and state officials who will represent Missouri values.”
Although it is not guaranteed that all students who are registered will vote, more than 1,200 Northwest students registered to vote through a Student Senate sponsored TurboVote link in Canvas.
Governmental Affairs Co-Chair Grace McCarty said TurboVote was successfully used to help students register to vote in the 2016 election, so the committee decided to use it again.
“The numbers were very high for such a small scale,” McCarty said. “When we came into this position just this semester, we weren’t sure about midterm elections, so we reached out to the past chairs and they suggested we use TurboVote to really get it on campus.”
Co-Chair sophomore Kirayle Jones said the committee began working with TurboVote over the summer.
“We had a few conference calls during the summer,” Jones said. “It was a pretty painless process, there were just many meetings where we had to talk about how this would actually work on our campus.”
McCarty said the most complicated part of the process was finalizing the contract.
“There was a part that wasn’t legal with the state of Missouri,” McCarty said. “So we had to have (Kori) Hoffman come in and look over it and rewrite it, and we had to send it back to TurboVote for it to eventually go through.”
Jones said he was ecstatic about the number of students who registered.
“It was amazing; we went in with our original goal being 700,” Jones said. “Last week when we looked at the numbers and it was over 1,200 we were like, ‘Holy smokes.’”
McCarty said the next steps for the committee now that registration is closed, are to educate students about the initiatives on the ballot and encourage students to get to the polls Nov. 6.