Sam Landstra—Staff Writer
Last Tuesday, Dordt strove to get students to the polls during a historic midterm election.
The 2018 midterms boasted some of the biggest numbers in recent memory—and earlier. The Associated Press estimates over 113 million people voted, with votes still being counted. This number not only estimates a number 30 million higher than the 2014 midterms, but also stands as the highest ever raw vote total for a non-presidential election in US history. Just under half—47 percent—of eligible voting Americans casted their votes, up more than 10 percent from 2014’s 36.7 percent.
In the midst of this record-breaking midterm election, 59.5 percent of eligible Iowans turned out to vote, the sixth highest turnout of all 50 states, as reported by the American Election Project.
Dordt attempted to get students to the polls by offering a shuttle bus to transport students to and from polling places, a fervor and technique used by Americans around the country. The bus gave rides at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Although many Dordt students voted, either by absentee ballot or in person, only a handful of students used the shuttle bus.
Derek Buteyn, Director of Residence Life and driver of the 11:00 bus, said the goal of the bus was to make voting as accessible as possible for Dordt students. “If transportation is the reason why students choose not to vote, then we want to get rid of that barrier,” Buteyn said.
A specific individual who took advantage of Dordt’s shuttle services was junior Tara Andersen, a medical laboratory science major. Andersen explained that although she votes somewhat due to pressure from those around her, she recognizes the importance of voting because of the people in past decades who fought for that right. Andersen said she probably would have voted whether or not the college provided the shuttle, but she was thankful for a way to save gas by use of it.
Another defining characteristic of the 2018 midterms was high voter turnout by younger demographics. The Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning and Engagement at Tufts University estimates that 31% of eligible voters, randing from 18 to 29 years of age, voted, which were numbers that was not seen in over a quaeter-century.
Whether or not young voters are represented in politics, Andersen believes they are. Citing a passion she sees within college-aged individuals that allows their voices to be heard, Andersen says, “We as young people are trying to figure out who we are, and when we do, we are passionate about it,” Anderson said. “We stand up for what we believe in.”
Elizabeth Wilterdink, a freshman computer science major and another Dordt shuttle rider, echoed this sentiment. Wilterdink believes college students in general “tend to be heard by the media more,” and are also catered to by politicians. However, Wilterdink mentioned she was unsure if Christian college students were as well-represented in politics.