Local Elections

‘It’s like Disneyland out here’: Sac State students wait hours to vote on campus

Hundreds of students stood in line to vote at Sacramento State’s vote center Tuesday evening, lining up out the door of Modoc Hall and onto the sidewalk.

Some students waited more than two hours to register and cast their ballots.

Jillian Robinson and Mark Samuel Abbott jumped ahead to their friends in line to avoid waiting too long to vote.

“It’s worth it. It’s like Disneyland out here, everybody wants to get here,” Abbott said.

Despite the long line, Robinson said she was grateful for the campus vote center because otherwise she would have to go to Elk Grove to cast her ballot.

She said the university also made it easy for students to vote, in part by offering shuttle rides to the vote center operated by Associated Students, Inc.

“It’s better than nothing, and I think probably next time they’ll have even more polling places,” Abbott said.

Matthew Fox, a government major who was registered to vote in Los Angeles, waited more than two hours to turn in a conditional registration form so he could vote locally.

Fox was falsely under the impression that he was allowed to vote across the state, and after discovering that he could not, he was glad to know that California is one of a handful of states that allow last-minute voter registration.

There are only 15 states that allow election-day registration.

Steven Chambers, who waited over two hours, suggested the university open an additional vote center on the other side of campus to divide lines between the two locations, instead of cramming all the voters into Modoc Hall, which is on the far south end of campus.

Fox said he would support opening up a second vote center on campus to reduce wait times.

Dee Khang avoided the line altogether by dropping off her mail-in ballot. Khang said she wanted even more young people to vote, stressing the importance of turning out for midterms.

“I feel like if you love your country or you want to make some changes in your country, you need to vote, because if you don’t vote you kind of have no say in whatever the outcome is,” Khang said.

Robinson said the campus had been abuzz with political talk in the lead up to election day, with students encouraging each other to make informed decisions and double-checking that they were registered.

Abbott disagreed with people who suggest that their votes don’t matter, arguing that non-voters’ inaction during the last election helped contribute to the current government.

Robinson and Abbott both agreed that President Donald Trump was a motivating factor in their participation.

“You’re not going to go out and vote if you don’t want something to change, and I think everybody is ready for some change,” Abbott said.

Holly Carter, who waited more than an hour and a half in line, said the affordable housing proposition was chief among the key issues in the election, but also said she would be voting “anything against (Trump).”

Chambers said one of the main reasons he was voting was to oppose Trump, whom Chambers criticized for his penchant for conflict.

Eric Frame, 26, an independent District 6 state senate candidate, pitched himself to students waiting in line, bringing up his youth and large burden of student debt.

Frame said he anticipated a large turnout at the campus vote center and students were generally receptive to his message of political independence and disassociation with corporations.

“One of my lines is, ‘We need new blood in office,’ and that usually gets me a nod and a smile, because it’s very true,” Frame said. “I don’t affiliate with Democrat or Republican and a lot of people are liking the sound of that as well.”

Chambers and others mentioned that although they were tired from standing in line, spirits remained relatively high, due in part to pizza that was handed out to voters — possibly ordered via a nonprofit that feeds hungry voters recently mentioned by the State Hornet.