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Student votes for NH primary underwhelming

By 1:10 p.m., six hours after the primary polls opened to the public, 643 votes were recorded at Oyster River High School in Durham on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Volunteers at the poll sat in the silence as students and members of the community registered their votes.

In regards to the preparation of the day, Town Clerk Lorrie Pitt noted that the volunteers came on Monday afternoon to set up equipment, signs and stations. Because of the expected low attendance of potential voters, Pitt created more room for the voters to sign in.

Students Living in New Hampshire can register to vote at the polls by filling out a form
Students Living in New Hampshire can register to vote at the polls by filling out a form

Deputy Clerk Loren Selig stated that UNH students could register right at the high school if they currently reside in Durham.

 “If there were a dozen students to show up today to vote, I would be surprised,” Pitt said. From 1-2:30 p.m., a total of six students voted.

The few students who did show up to vote were open with expressing their views regarding the election.

“People miss the little things that seem insignificant,” junior Lilah
Cherim said. “People get discouraged by how little is actually done in government because not everybody in there is doing the job they should be doing.”

After Cherim voted, it was another 20 minutes until another student arrived.

“Women’s health, minimum wage and the drug crisis are important to me,” junior Tara Paladino said.

For junior John Lewis, issues regarding political funding stood out to him.  “Big money, such as super PACs in politics, needs to stop,” he said. “The environmental crisis and the amount we pay in educations is also important to me.”

Sophomore Griffen Judd said he felt that a sense of bipartisan cooperation is a highly important factor in how the government operates.

“The government needs to get things done,” Judd said.  

Lee resident Richard Lewis said that he arrived with his wife, Susan, to support women’s rights for her because of the wage inequality and social rights gap.

“There is no other choice on the democratic side, so I have to go with what the party has,” Lewis said.

Pitt and Selig knew the turnout for the primary would be much less than what should be expected for the general election on Nov. 8.  Whereas the polls for the primary were held in the entrance to the school, the setup will be moved to the gym for the general election.

 “Go to the town clerk office 10 days before the general election,” Selig said in regard to students who want to register on the same day of a major election. “Students last year waited between 20 minutes to four hours waiting in line [at the presidential primaries].”

Incumbent U.S. senator for New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte, won the Republican primary with 79 percent of the vote. For the Democratic Party, current New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan was uncontested in receiving her party’s nomination for the senate seat.

For the gubernatorial race, Colin Van Ostern won the Democratic primary with 52 percent of the vote, while Chris Sununu won the GOP primary with 31 percent of the vote. 

Frank Guinta, who currently represents New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, won the GOP primary with 46 percent of the vote. Vying for the seat from the Democratic side is Carol Shea-Porter, who ran unopposed in the primary.

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