In preparation for the midterm elections, Elon Votes hosted a number of events to increase turnout for early voting, which ran in North Carolina from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5. Its primary focus was to help students obtain their absentee forms and raise awareness for voting opportunities on campus, according to Elon Votes coordinators Sydney Barlow and Bo Dalrymple. 

Barlow said Elon Vote’s Oct. 5 event, AbsenTEA, had around 60 people in attendance. There, Elon Votes members helped students request absentee ballots for their home states while enjoying tea and snacks.

“I do think there have been more popular weeks than others for engagement, but I think in comparison to the 2020 election, we have seen good positive numbers around engagement,” Barlow said.

According to the Alamance County Board of Elections website, 4,605 people voted at the early voting site at Elon’s South Gym. While Elon’s early voting site did not differentiate between Elon students and residents, Dalrymple believes students have been more engaged with voting this year. 

“We’re optimistic that it will exceed past midterm years,” Dalrymple said.

The early voting site at Elon University has helped with student turnout as well, according to Barlow. She said the early voting site was not only more convenient for students and residents of the town of Elon, but it also made people aware that there are voting opportunities on campus. Dalrymple added that it has also given students the opportunity to easily switch their registration to North Carolina if they failed to meet the mail-in ballot deadline for their home state.

“It gives students one more opportunity or way to vote, which I think will be very beneficial to voter turnout, and I think we’ll see this post election,” Dalrymple said.

There were only five early voting sites for residents in Alamance County. Shante Alvarez, a resident of Burlington, chose to vote at Elon’s voting site. Though she lives outside the town of Elon, she said she found the voting site at South Gym convenient.

“There just weren’t as many. … I think I counted only this one, … and the other two were in Graham and Mebane. … Having it here is convenient when you only have a few,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said that she feels voting is important and was glad to see people accessing the new polling place on Elon’s campus.

“I do think that people have been more aware of the importance of voting,” Alvarez said. “I definitely see a lot of effort to get people informed about the candidates who are running for offices.”