Students take to the polls in McNeely Hall

St. Thomas students took to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the 2010 midterm election.

Fewer people showed up Tuesday than in 2008, said Christine Hansen, head election judge at McNeely Hall, the polling place for Ward 4, Precinct 6. She said students make up a large percentage of the total number of voters in the precinct.

<p>Students vote in McNeely 100. (Cynthia Johnson/TommieMedia)</p>
Students vote in McNeely 100. (Cynthia Johnson/TommieMedia)

“The registration for this precinct is around 2,100 registered voters,” Hansen said. “We get at least 300 to 500 new registrations from the St. Thomas students. It’s quite a big percentage of the number of people who actually vote here during the general elections.”

Some students found the registration and voting process to be very user-friendly, contrary to problems with machines in other areas of Minnesota.

“It was very simple. It took maybe 20 minutes,” sophomore Matt Schaak said. “I thought it was going to be more difficult than it was, but registration went by without a hitch and voting was really easy, too.”

For students, the issues for the midterm elections are as numerous as the candidates.

“The gubernatorial race seems to be the central focus of this election,” sophomore Brian Nyberg said.

But junior Kelly Benson said the election is about more than just the future governor.

“For me, I would say we need a more balanced office,” she said.

Freshman Betsy Smith said casting her first vote was something she didn’t take for granted.

“I feel like I was really exercising my right as an American citizen,” she said. “When you think about all the years that women couldn’t vote, and it just feels like we’ve come a long way and it’s great to be able to vote.”

Zach Pagano contributed to this report.

Ashley Stewart can be reached at