Campus opens new polling location
UW-Green Bay students who live on campus have a new annual activity to look forward to — voting in each election without having to find a ride or go for a long walk to the nearest polling station.
Efforts by the Student Government Association, College Democrats, College Republicans and the city of Green Bay allowed for the creation of a permanent polling location on campus.The new polling station, which serves all 2,000 on-campus residents and a handful of houses near campus, will handle voting for all local, state and national elections. Previously, only some fall elections, such as the presidential elections, were held on campus.
Tuesday’s election drew 66 voters. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s more than three times as many voters compared to a year earlier when just 19 students ventured to an off-campus polling site.
“This is a big success for students,” SGA President Ricky Staley said of having the new springtime polling site. “It’s a victory for students and democracy.”
Many students who live on campus don’t have easy access to transportation, and a polling site here should help encourage them to vote, Staley said.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt and aldermen Jerry Wiezbiskie and Dan Piton attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning with Staley, College Democrats representative Molly Lubinski, and College Republicans representative Matt Belin.
“What a great way to connect government with youth voters,” Mayor Schmitt said, “and also convey to them the importance of voting.”
Aldermen Wiezbiskie and Piton worked closely with the student representatives to get the polling site.
“The students’ actions in response to this polling opportunity will speak louder than our words,” said Wiezbiskie, who said he worked for three years to have a polling site on campus. “Every vote counts and is very important. This populous should be heard.”
Added Aldermen Piton, “When I learned about students having to find their own rides to a different ward to vote, I knew it had to change. Our goal must be making the ballot as accessible as possible to everyone. Encouraging participation among our young people will help to form a life long habit of civic participation.”