Voters struggle with correct documentation at polls near U

When students are turned away for having incorrect registration materials some don’t return, an election judge said.

Taylor Selcke

Tim Olstad felt prepared when he went to vote this afternoon. He had studied the candidates, established his stance on the issues and knew his polling location.

What the third-year University of Minnesota student was not prepared for was being turned away âÄì more than once âÄì from the Seven Corners polling location.

âÄúThe biggest problem was that it wasnâÄôt clear as to what kind of documentation I needed,âÄù Olstad said. He had to make multiple trips back and forth from his apartment at Grand Marc to Seven Corners.

According to election judge Catherine McKegney, this has been the case for many voters.

There have been many errors in the materials presented by people hoping to register at the polls, including voters bringing in utility bills with their spousesâÄô name rather than their own, McKegney said.

Phillip Childs, a third-year University student and war veteran, was also trying to vote. âÄúI believe I fought for this right [to vote],âÄù he said. âÄúI just wish they made it easier for students.âÄù

Lynn Anderson, an election judge at Van Cleve, said some voters donâÄôt return after theyâÄôre turned away.  

âÄúI wish I couldâÄôve voted [at Coffman] because there are no places by my apartment in St. Paul,âÄù second-year student Erica Wipperfurth said. âÄúNow I donâÄôt know if I will have time in between my classes to get to the polls today.âÄù  

Pre-registration is key to making the election process easier and quicker, said Carmon Marg-Patton, an election judge at Van Cleve Park.

âÄúIf you do it ahead of time, there is a less likely chance of there being any problems,âÄù she said.