Millett Hall: 9 a.m.
When Grant Loewenstine, a sophomore kinesiology major, arrived at Millett Hall this morning to cast his vote in the 2020 election, he thought he had arrived early enough to beat the crowds.
But when Loewenstine approached the doors at 6:20 a.m., minutes before the polls were scheduled to open, he realized just how wrong he was.
There were around 40 perspective voters already waiting in line, Loewenstine said.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, the doors opened and the line of people began to slowly move forward. Loewenstine said there was an air of peacefulness surrounding the polling location.
“It was really calm,” Loewenstine said. “Probably because everyone was tired from waking up so early.”
By 9 a.m., the lines outside Millett had diminished. Every few minutes, one or two people would walk up the long stretch of sidewalk bundled in winter jackets to avoid the cool November day.
Representatives from the Andrew Goodman Foundation (Vote Everywhere) and College Democrats (Dems) were scattered around the arena passing out pamphlets to both incoming and outgoing voters.
Andrew Devedjian, a senior political science and religion double major representing Vote Everywhere, said it’s important for voters to know that the power is in their hands.
“It's very important to understand that it's not our leaders who get to decide who wins the election. It is our local officials. That's the point,” Devedjian said. “When our founders were figuring this all out, they made voting in the hands of the state for a reason.”
As voters exited Millett, they described an easy, electronic voting process.
“My last election I voted in was the midterms, and it was on a paper ballot,” said Hunter Reeling, a junior mechanical engineering major. “Everything in there [Millett] was electric and kind of really cool, actually. But it was really easy. And I really liked the electronic voting a lot better.”
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Despite the cold weather, voters came out to perform their civic duty.
“I think it's important that voices are heard, and that you vote. Every vote matters,” said Danielle Spensiero, sophomore interactive media studies major.
For those who haven’t made it out to the polls yet, voters had a clear message for them.
“Everybody needs to come out to vote,” said Elise Bossenbroek, first-year speech pathology and audiology major. “It's really important. So make sure you do that.”
While not every voter disclosed which presidential candidate they voted for, Bossenbroek made her decision clear.
“I want to get Donald Trump out of office,” she said.
Devedjian said Vote Everywhere is not concerned with which candidates students vote for, but rather that they have the proper tools needed to vote successfully.
“Obviously, in this heavily polarized time, it's important to ensure that the students have the things that they need in order to just come in and vote,” he said. “Whoever they cast their ballot for is who they cast their ballot for.”
Millett Hall: 3 p.m.
Lines were short outside Millett this afternoon, but Omar Elghazawi, junior and volunteer for Dems and Miami University for Biden, said volunteers were expecting an uptick in voters later in the day.
A man standing outside Millett waved a large Trump 2020 flag but left before a reporter could ask for comment.
First-year games and simulation major Bailey Tate said it was fairly empty inside Millett, and he was able to get through the voting process quickly and easily.
“I know [my vote is] going to make a difference, especially in a time like this,” Tate said of his reason for heading to the polls. “So I figured my vote would definitely help a little bit.”
First-year special education major Claire Heilman said she expected more people at the polls but appreciates the calmer atmosphere because she came by herself and wasn’t sure exactly what to do.
Wyatt Taylor, a junior economics major, said people need to vote whether they like either of the presidential candidates or not.
“It’s very important to vote, even if you think both candidates kinda blow,” Taylor said, “because whether it affects you or not, it will affect a lot of people. So you’ve got to do it.”
Kramer Elementary School: 3 p.m.
Very few voters were at Kramer in the afternoon. Poll workers said they were expecting more voters later in the day.
At around 4:40 p.m., three trucks brandishing Trump 2020 flags drove through the Kramer parking lot. One of the drivers yelled at a poll worker about the lack of Trump signs outside the polling location.
Poll workers said that the biggest rush of voters came early this morning.
“There was a woman out here at 5:45,” poll worker Jean Pateman said.
“Before the polls opened at 6:30, we had a line from the door of the gym all the way out towards the teachers’ parking lot.” poll worker Robert Simpson added.
Millett Hall: 4:30 p.m.
As temperatures dipped and the sun began to set, voters became sparse.
People stopped by every now and then. When they arrived, there was no lengthy line to wait in. In fact, there weren’t lines at all.
After voting, one girl got picked up by a friend who was blasting “FDT” by YG.
There were more people going for a night jog by Millett than people stopping by to vote for periods of time.
When they did come, though, there were seasoned and first time voters alike. Many first-time voters shared their enthusiasm about their first presidential election.
“It was my very first election, so very exciting,” sophomore geology & English literature major Gabby Kovachich said. “I did not expect my first election to be the presidential election … I thought [the poll worker] would judge me for who I voted for, but she didn’t say anything … it’s like, ‘It’s okay, I’m not going to look, we’re just going to make sure your vote counts.’”
Others spoke about the impact of this particular election.
“The world – the country – is very divided right now,” Oxford resident Kaila Sowards said. “It’s gonna be history, I think.”
Kramer Elementary School: 6:30 p.m.
With only about an hour left to vote and the darkness of the night taking over Oxford, the last few voters made their way to Kramer Elementary School.
Kimberly Barlotta, 52, says if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.
“Everybody’s vote counts. If you don’t vote, don’t complain,” she said. “There was a five-year period [when I lived in] Florida when I didn’t vote. I complained because of who was the president, but it was my fault because I didn't go and vote.”
Bonnie Elliott said that poll workers assisted her in reading her ballot which made the process easier.
“They explained everything to me that I needed to have explained because like I said before, I am not a very good reader,” she said. “So, with them being there with me to help me do the process went a lot smoother and easier for me to understand it. So I could vote.”
This is an ongoing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.