Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian
Televisions all over the Fresno State campus were tuned in for Election Day coverage Tuesday. Students walked around wearing presidential candidate T-shirts. Some had buttons on their backpacks for different propositions they were for or against. Others simply wore â€œI votedâ€ stickers.
With choices on the ballot ranging from U.S. President on the national level to possibly banning same-sex marriages in California, voters had an array of issues that garnered the interest of people who hadnâ€™t voted before.
For some student voters, it was their first chance at wearing one of those â€œI votedâ€ stickers.
Kyle Sunderland, a graduate student studying kinesiology, thought there were a lot of controversial items to vote on. Though he had been eligible to vote before, things on this yearâ€™s ballot persuaded him that it was time to vote in a major election.
Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian
â€œThis was the first time Iâ€™ve had interest in the propositions,â€ Sunderland said. â€œAnd the presidential race is always controversial. Now that you throw in a female vice president and an African-American presidential candidate, it makes things even more controversial.â€
A few miles down the street from Fresno State, at Saints Community Church of God in Christ, poll worker Paul Williams saw the highest number of college-aged voters he has seen in more than 20 years of Election Day volunteering. To his eyes, college-aged voters made up about 20 percent at his precinct. But Williams also thought that voter turnout overall was the highest heâ€™s seen.
When the poll opened at 7 a.m., Williams said there were 25 people standing in line to vote, some of whom had been there since 6:30 a.m.
â€œI think weâ€™re getting a lot of first-time voters,â€ Williams said. â€œEverybody seems excited and weâ€™ve had double or triple the normal turnout.
â€œUsually weâ€™ll get 250 to people vote in six hours,â€ Williams said. â€œIn just over three hours, weâ€™ve already done that.â€
According to the California Secretary of the State Web site, California had about 550,000 more registered voters, as of Sept. 19, than it did for the 2004 presidential election. California has averaged 12,000 new registered voters a month since mid-May.
Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar was working at the County Clerkâ€™s office from 4 a.m. Tuesday, until late in the evening. As workers totaled up the ballots, Salazar said voter turnout is as strong as he has seen.
â€œItâ€™s a very high turnout,â€ Salazar said. â€œWe are projecting a 70 percent turnout, and what we release tonight will be a snapshot that is very representative of the final results.â€
Salazar said that voter turnout was only 30 percent when the California primary election was held in June.
However, at Fresno State, new voters were excited.
Plant science major Elvis Martinez, a first-time voter, had been looking forward to casting his vote before attending his first class of the day.
â€œI was a little nervous,â€ Martinez said. â€œBut I thought it was time to make a change and to try and make a difference.â€
After class, Martinez planned on keeping an eye on how the different races were going and how people ended up voting on the different propositions.
â€œIâ€™ll be watching it until the end,â€ he said.