Midterm 2018: Increase in Voter Participation Comes with Registration Problems


By Bailey Speer | bspeer1@radford.edu

From all accounts, the midterm elections exceeded expectations for the poll workers and residents of Radford. The process seemed to go smoothly, with short lines and efficient workers residents seemed both happy and enthusiastic about the process.

According to the poll workers, the turn-out at 9:45 that morning was already well beyond previous years morning numbers. The voters ranged from local groups of college students to older residents who have been voting for years.

Young voters at the polls.

Despite the rain, many voters showed up early and were easily able to vote. However, there were at least three locals who were interviewed that were unable to vote due to I.D. confusion. These residents expressed frustration with the precise and in their view complex requirements for voter I.D.

Two of these potential voters had been voting for years previously and didn’t understand the change. One man who did not want to give his name said, “I’m 98 years old I’ve been voting here for years, and now they say I can’t, some nonsense about a photo on my ID.”

The man later returned with his son after visiting the registrar and was able to vote.

Another potential voter, Mike Shelton, 23, was turned away when his registered address required him to vote in Roanoke. When asked about the confusion he said, “I voted last time just fine in Roanoke. I thought when I changed my address with the post office it changed it for my voter registration too. I think maybe they need to be clearer about the rules.”

Despite a few cases of confusion, the consensus seemed to be that things were well organized and people were well informed.

Voters like Lucille Haggan continued a long streak of successful voting in Radford and were very adamant that the process went well.

Haggan, now the age of 92, says she has voted in every election since she was 21- which means her first election was the Truman election of 1948. With nearly 20 presidential elections under her belt, she seems to have the expertise when she says the voting process was easy for Radford area voters.

Photo Credit: ( Bailey Speer | The Tartan)