Straw poll to foreshadow general election

With 22 days until the general election on Nov. 6, students can cast mock ballots on some of the most hot-button issues of the political season at six locations across campus today.

As part of a straw poll organized by political science professor and political analyst Susan MacManus; Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honor society; Student Government and the Honors College, polling booths will be set up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Marshall Student Center, Library, Juniper-Poplar residence halls, the College of Business, Cooper Hall and the Engineering Building.

With yard signs donated by campaigns adorning the voting areas, the voting process is one that is not only designed to mirror the real process, but to get students thinking about the November election.

It gets them enthused and gets them thinking about it, MacManus said. If we did it two weeks in advance, then its too late for them to request an absentee ballot.

The ballot will allow students to cast their votes on a scantron form for the presidential ticket, the senatorial ticket and three of the 11 amendments that will be on Novembers Hillsborough County ballot: Amendment 11, determining if the student representative to the Board of Governors should be state appointed; Amendment 6, determining whether public funds may be used to cover abortions; and Amendment 7, determining if individuals may receive state benefits regardless of religion and if state funds may be used directly or indirectly to aid churches, sects or other religious organizations.

MacManus said she hopes the ballots will open students eyes to the issues they will vote on in this election.

We try to educate them that they need to bone up on these amendments and they cant just walk in there cold, she said. We also want to educate the broader public because theres this assumption that college students dont care about politics.

At 3 p.m., all scantrons will be taken to the USF Testing Center, where they will be processed. Results will be announced via the office of University Communications and Marketing before 5 p.m.

Lindsay Lewis, Student Government advisor on governmental affairs and a senior majoring in political science who helped plan the event, said she looks forward to hearing the results.

I like seeing what the campus is feeling, she said. Its interesting and important to see what the young vote looks like. Last time, young voters decided the election. Our voices are important, whether people think so or not.