UWO students vote Democratic


Liam Beran / The Advance-Titan

Liam Beran, Staff Writer

Last week’s midterm elections came down to several razor-tight races, including a Secretary of State race that is still ongoing as of our Tuesday evening publication deadline. Though voter registration reached record highs, according to PBS Wisconsin, “overall turnout dipped below what it was in 2018.” Compared to 2018’s November midterm election, Winnebago County’s turnout was around 2.5% less, totalling 74,922 votes. 

Winnebago County Clerk Sue Ertmer was still happy with turnout and operations. “I was pleasantly surprised,” she said. Ertmer said that although the county expected turnout to be strong, the numbers remained comparable to the 2018 midterm elections; Ertmer estimated this year’s turnout to comprise around 75% of the county’s eligible voters.

Ertmer said that some voters were frustrated with having to show voter identification at their polling place, with some opting to vote by provisional ballot at the polls and later showing proof of identification at the clerk’s office. Some voters also expressed frustration with the county’s redistricted electoral map, which was first used in the April 2022 spring election, saying it caused them to show up at the wrong polling place. For future elections, Ertmer recommended voters check the Winnebago County website’s “Voting Information by Address” section or to call the county or city clerk’s office. She said  the new map will remain in place for 10 years.

“But that was about it. Otherwise, our voting equipment worked great, they were able to modem results to us … and so far all of those results came through just fine, those that we’ve canvassed,” she said.

Chloe Strand, an intern for UWO’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCCE), also said that turnout and engagement were strong. The CCCE spent time prior to the midterm elections educating students on voting logistics around campus: how to register to vote, where their polling place would be, what candidates would be on their ballots and similar information. 

Strand said that the CCCE plans to run similar programming for future elections, with an emphasis on more student-led event-planning teams. 

“I’m happy that a lot of the younger generations voted,” she said. Strand emphasized the importance of voting for beliefs, rather than being told to vote for a certain candidate over another. 

“We have a right to vote and we should teach students to exercise that right instead of teaching them who to vote for.” 

Nationwide, these elections were a record showing for Gen Z voters, many of whom cast their ballot for the first time, prompting national attention. NBC News’s exit polling showed 18-24 year old voters preferring Democrats (61%) over Republicans’ (36%). NPR termed Gen Z “the wall for the Red Wave,” (the Red Wave is a term meant to represent Republican candidates taking control of Democrat-held seats). That wave, to the chagrin of many leading Republican figures, is largely considered to have not materialized.

In Wisconsin, the longest race holdout was for the U.S. Senate; incumbent Republican Ron Johnson beat Democrat Mandela Barnes by around 1% or 26,450 votes. The Associated Press, largely considered the gold standard for calling elections, did not call the race until mid-morning Nov. 9. Incumbent Democrats Tony Evers and Josh Kaul held on to the governor’s and attorney general’s seats respectively, and locally, Lori Palmeri, mayor of the city of Oshkosh, beat Republican businessman Donnie Herman for control over the 54th State Assembly District seat.