567 Oilers mock voted on Tuesday
By Sarah Stubbs
If the University of Findlay’s campus community got to elect the next President of the United States, Donald J. Trump would be the candidate to take over as Commander-in-Chief in 2017.
The Findlay Media Network (FMN) Mock Election on Tuesday, Nov. 1 – held exactly a week before the general election – brought out 567 Oilers to cast mock votes. Trump earned 47.3 percent of the vote, Hillary Clinton 37.2 percent, Gary Johnson 12 percent, and Jill Stein 3.5 percent.
The campus event received attention from local media, too. Lima’s TV station WILO did a segment on the Mock Election for their Tuesday night news show. The Courier also covered the Mock Election.
FMN invited students, faculty, and staff at UF to vote from 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the AMU fireplace lounge as well as from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Davis Street building main lobby. “Rock the Mock” T-shirts were distributed at the top of every hour to incentivize voting, and there were also three separate drawings for $25 gift cards to Chipotle.
Ohio State Rep. Robert Sprague (R) and Ohio State Rep. candidate Mary Harshfield (D) attended the Mock Election from 12 to 1 p.m. and got to meet and interact with UF students voting.
For many Oilers participating in the Mock Election, the 2016 general election will be their first time casting real votes.
Jonda Krontc, a freshman AYA language arts education major, was one of those Oilers. She said that FMN’s Mock Election was perfect practice for others like her.
“It makes them more comfortable with the voting process and leads them to possibly want to be more informed about the election,” Krontc said.
Krontc said that she didn’t feel like she had spent a lot of time learning about the candidates since she’s so busy with schoolwork, but is glad events like the Mock Election give students the opportunity to do so.
The Mock Election was able to get students who might not be able to vote in the actual election to participate in political discussion on campus as international students and unregistered voters casted mock votes.
Nick Kopylec, a Canadian native studying sport and event management at UF, was one such student.
“I don’t pay much attention to US politics. I’m from Canada so I can’t even vote here. But, this is way different than how we do it. Your debates are huge and they are not that big of a deal in Canada. Here, it’s entertainment,” Kopylec said.
Another international student, Sujata Aryal from Nepal, rocked the Mock on Tuesday, too. The environmental safety and occupational health graduate student said that Trump winning the Mock Election did not surprise her.
What pleasantly surprised her, though, was the high participation.
“I’ve come to know that a lot of Americans don’t usually vote. So involving kids, undergraduate-aged students, establishes awareness of political standings,” Aryal said.
Krontc and Yinka Adeboyejo, a senior digital media major, echoed Aryal’s unsurprising response to Trump’s victory in the Mock Election.
“Findlay is a private institution, so I’m going to assume that most students are Republican,” Krontc said.
“Findlay is a little red,” Adeboyejo said.
Adeboyejo also mentioned that it’s important to note that the Mock Election’s results might not be a completely accurate reflection of how the entire population of UF students, faculty, and staff will vote in the general election.
“Only about ten percent of campus actually voted,” Adeboyejo said.
Of the 4,128 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UF this fall, 567 would be 13.7 percent. A handful of the 567 votes, though, came from faculty and staff members.
For the 567 that did turnout to vote, though, ample reminders about the importance to vote in the actual elections were provided.
City of Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik was scheduled to speak to students about voting that afternoon, but was feeling ill and cancelled. UF President Katherine Fell addressed students instead.
Fell’s short speech focused on the importance of becoming educated about the candidates and the issues for which they stand and voting.
“We have a principle by which to live in our country and that is we all have the opportunity to give voice to our government, and we should take that opportunity, but we should do it thoughtfully, respectfully, and intelligently,” Fell said.
Fell said that Americans have an obligation to be as educated as they can about their government.
“If you live in a country, you should know what’s going on in it,” Aryal said.