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Under pressure: Some Ohio State students feel pushed to vote

Andrew Collins / For The Lantern

“Don’t boo, vote.”
That’s what President Barack Obama said during his Tuesday visit to Ohio State’s campus to people crying out against the policies of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.  
Ohio plays a pivotal role in the election, and if some students didn’t already feel pressured to vote, Obama’s comment put the pressure on.
As an influential swing state, candidates spend a significant amount of time and money campaigning in the Buckeye state.
Obama and Romney have both spent time in Ohio this week. Obama came to OSU’s campus Tuesday where he spoke to a crowd of 15,000 on the Oval. His visit coincided with the last day for voter registration, and Obama spent some of his roughly 20 minute speech urging the crowd to register to vote if they hadn’t already.
Romney also visited Ohio this week and made campaign stops throughout the state, including Mount Vernon and Delaware on Wednesday, and is scheduled to attend a rally in Lancaster, Ohio, Friday.
While in Mount Vernon Wednesday, Romney talked about how the presidential debates give him and Obama a chance to address the nation directly.
“I believe in the American people, and with your help and the help of Ohio, we are going to win this election,” Romney told the crowd.
Hillary Doyle, a fourth-year in English and lingusitics and director of media relations for OSU Votes, a non-partisan voter registration and education program, said she can see why students feel pressured.
“I do think that comes into play, more so because we are a swing state and we are in the news,” Doyle said. “It’s more on our mind because of the media. It’s on the mind of the country.”
Hannah Vilagi, a first-year in biomedical engineering, is planning to vote and said she hopes other students will do the same.
“I feel like if I were to live in a state that wasn’t as much of a swing state, it would be less influential, but I think that, especially living on a campus this large, it’s important that every(one) gets out and votes,” Vilagi said. “People should support their views regardless of what it is.”
Caitlyn Beatty, a first-year in pharmaceutical sciences, said she also felt the pressure of living in the capital of a swing state.
“Since we are such an important state, I definitely need to vote,” Beatty said.
However, Jessica Shank, a fourth-year in psychology, said she does not feel any extra pressure to vote.
“Maybe if I hadn’t already been registered pre-election year then it would have affected me more,” Shank said. “I think it’s kind of funny that we are such an important state. What makes my opinions any different than someone who lives in another state?”
Many students on campus have noticed a surge in people asking if they are registered to vote since returning to school Fall Semester. Doyle said OSU Votes has had students out on campus to help others get registered, leading up to the November election.
Some students think it’s good that volunteers are out there to help students register, but could see how it might make people uncomfortable.
“It’s kind of obnoxious, but I think it’s good they are kind of pressuring you because I think a lot of people our age don’t get involved or as strongly support their views as they should,” Vilagi said. “I could see where a lot of students might also be turned off by it.”
Beatty said she agreed, but it hasn’t affected her views on the election.
“Even though it can be pushy, I like that they are actually making it an important thing and stressing it to students because I do (think) that every student does need to vote,” Beatty said.
Obama’s Tuesday visit to campus was his fifth in the past two years. Romney has yet to visit OSU’s campus while on the campaign trail, but his running mate Paul Ryan attended the first Buckeye football game of the season on Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio), his alma mater.
According to a seven-day rolling Gallup poll of registered voters on Thursday, Obama leads nationally at 48 percent, with Romney trailing at 46 percent.

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