Student Life Editor
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, students, staff and faculty participated in voting for the midterm election this year.
Keene State College provided shuttles for students to arrive at the polls. Kimberly Schmidl-Gagne, the program manager for Provost, says she believes voting is something that should be an expectation for everyone.
“Voting is one of those things that should be an expectation of all people, this is a democracy and the only way it works is for everyone to be involved and for everyone to be heard,” said Schmidl-Gagne.
Schidml-Gagne also says it’s the school’s responsibility to prepare students for life after college and as actively engaged citizens.
“Part of our responsibility is if we’re going to have [students] be active engaged citizens when they leave for college, is to start getting them engaged in the process now,” said Schidml-Gagne.
For some students, this year’s election was their first time voting. The school provided information on the candidates and the constitutional questions.
“We wanted to get the students ready — it’s not practice, it’s real, — and tried to provide some support to help develop good habits around voting and civic engagement,” said Schidml-Gagne.
To ensure that more students would vote this year, the school provided shuttles as transportation to the wards, a taco truck, and therapy dogs.
“Our job became getting rid of the obstacles, and making it fun for students,” said Schidml-Gagne.
As the shuttle busses brought students to and from the polls, community members were on board volunteering.
“What made [Election day] so special was not only did we have members of the college volunteering, but we also had community members working as shuttle captains. It was really neat and they loved it,” said Schmidl-Gagne.
All these factors led to an increase in the number of students voting from the previous 2016 election.
Schidml-Gagne reported that in 2014, about 12.5 percent of students who were eligible voted in the last midterm election. This year, approximately 23 percent of the student body voted.
Taylor Beaven, junior majoring in political science, believes that voting is a way students can be heard as well as make a difference.
“People die for a right to vote and on top of that, voting is essential for representative democracy to work,” says Beaven.
This year was Beaven’s second time voting, and he felt that it was good for him vote for candidates he believed could make a difference.
“Tuesday was my second time voting, and it felt good to cast my vote for candidates that do larger extent than others that match my American ideals,” says Beaven.
If none of the students voted, then officials cannot advocate for them or the laws affecting them.
“If our elected officials aren’t entirely represented of the 100 percent of the public political demographic, then our elected official cannot advocate for, and create laws support the current American ideals,” says Beaven.
The main reason why students should vote in upcoming elections is so their voices can be heard, and so they can understand what laws could affect them.
“The point in voting, especially for students is to be able to vote for those [who] represent or match to some extent your American ideals,” says Beaven.
Caroline Eber was among the 23 percent of students who voted this year. Voting made Eber feel empowered.
“This was my first time voting, and it made me feel empowered and [like] my voice existed and was valued,” says Eber.
Eber believes that not voting would take away a citizen’s chance to make a difference in the government.
“If we don’t vote, then there’s really no power to the people, and there’s no point in having democracy in the first place,” said Eber.
Alyssa Wisniewski can be contacted at