The University of Idaho Party to Polls featured games, food, live music and a chance for UI students and Moscow residents to engage in the political process.
UI student Alex Kanet said he was at the event, which offered transportation to the polls at the Latah County Fairgrounds, for the free food and the opportunity to cast his ballot.
“If it wasn’t for this event, I probably wouldn’t be voting, because it is a long bike ride to the fairgrounds,” Kanet said.
Zack Straite, another university student, said he waited in line for three hours before voting.
“I got there at 3:30 p.m. and I’m just now leaving,” Straite said as he got in the shuttle at 6:30 p.m.
Straite said he was going to be late for work because of how long he spent waiting to vote.
Kaela Watson, a coordinator for the Center of Volunteerism and Social Action, said the event was an opportunity to get students excited about voting and to celebrate American democracy.
“The lines were very long, so long they wrapped around the building,” Watson said. “I think it’s because people are very passionate about voting this year. There’s been a lot of efforts from the university and from people in general to go out and vote, but they don’t have enough space to actually accomplish that.”
Watson said the lack of an on-campus polling location this year also played a role in organizing the event.
“I started planning this over the summer with Nicole Skinner, as well as Dylan Porter and Mackenzie Lawrence,” Watson said. “We knew there wasn’t going to be a polling location on campus, and it was very important to us that we were able to make voting accessible.”
Amber Schneider, a fellow coordinator for the Center of Volunteerism and Social Action, commented on the importance of students going to the polls.
“Voting is a great opportunity to feel connected and have a voice in the Moscow community,” Schneider said.
Latah County Clerk Henrianne Westberg previously told The Argonaut the ASUI Kibbie Activity Center was removed as a polling location because it was difficult for some older voters and voters with disabilities to make it from the parking lot to the Dome.
Watson and Schneider both said they wished the Kibbie Dome was still a polling location.
“It’s a little disinheriting that (the city) is not making voting as accessible, but I see it as an opportunity for people to come together and make change,” Schneider said.
Brianna Finnegan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BriannaFinnega8
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