UW students cast early votes as young voter turnout expected to be higher than normal

There are five days until the 2023 Spring Election, but that’s not stopping some Badgers from getting their early votes in.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - There are five days until the 2023 Spring Election, but that’s not stopping some Badgers from getting their early votes in.

Students on the UW-Madison campus are showing out this year, according to student organization BadgersVote. This comes as NBC15 political analyst Richard Haven anticipates more young voters to show up than they usually do for elections of this kind.

“We’ve been running candidate forums and we ran a mayor forum, and in those forums, a lot of issues that students would ask about were affordable housing, mental health resources, public transportation,” Co-Lead Intern with BadgersVote Amanjot Kaur said. “And then on the Supreme Court obviously abortion is an issue that a lot of people have strong opinions about on both sides, so I know that those are a lot of issues that have been turning people out for this election.”

Kaur said while her peers seem passionate about the Supreme Court race, the smaller elections are often forgotten.

“That was one of those things where we had to increase awareness about those smaller, down ballot elections,” Kaur said. “And even with the supreme court election, a lot of people have been trained to think like ‘November, the first Tuesday of November is election day, and that’s the only election day, and spring is off season.”

Professor at the UW-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication Doug McLeod said everyone’s vote counts and voting when you’re young can set the stage for future election participation.

“When we go away from home and for many people that’s when they go away to college, you’re now living on your own,” McLeod said. “Our dietary habits are sort of established and other things like our voting habits are established. And those patterns sort of manifest themselves for years and years after that.”

McLeod said regardless of political affiliation, the uptick he’s noticed in both voting and active engagement is a good sign for the future.

“I would say in the last 15 years, that’s been a really encouraging trend that makes me much more optimistic about the future of our country and the future of our democracy,” McLeod said.

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