Over 250 Mason Students Voted at Merten Hall on Election Day
Student Media, Mason Cable Network, and Mason Votes conducted exit polling outside Merten Hall on November 8th to learn more about what issues and candidates were motivating student voters in 2022.
Students were asked to complete a short exit survey after voting at Mason’s on-campus polling place (University Precinct), and the results were analyzed during Mason Cable Network’s LIVE election night broadcast.
Watch the 2022 election night broadcast: youtube.com/watch?v=j1tM0Dry1eg
Mason voters overwhelmingly supported the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, with 84.52% of the vote going to longtime incumbent Gerry Connolly. Republican challenger Jim Myles received 15.48% of the Mason vote. Both candidates visited Mason’s Fairfax campus within the last month of the election to speak with potential voters.
New in 2022 was a “same day” voter registration option in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Elections: “Beginning with the 2022 General Election, the General Assembly approved legislation that provides the ability to register at any time, up to and including Election Day.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Mason students (a group that includes many first-time voters and voters registering with new on-campus addresses) took advantage of the same day registration option, with more than 100 same day registrations reported from the University Precinct alone. Fairfax County Board of Elections sent an extra employee to the Merten Hall polling place just to handle same day registrations.
One caveat to same day voter registration is the use of provisional ballots, which are not counted on Election Day. Provisional ballots are subject to approval by a local electoral board and voters whose provisional ballots are not approved will receive a notice in writing from the general registrar.
252 regular ballots were cast by Mason students on Election Day, with more than 100 additional provisional ballots yet to be counted. Learn more about same day registration and provisional ballots: elections.virginia.gov/registration/same-day-voter-registration
According to the results of our 2022 exit poll survey, the most important issue to Mason students when casting their vote was “Abortion,” with nearly 22% of respondents selecting that as their top concern.
When combined with the second-highest ranked category of “Women’s Issues,” nearly 35% of Mason voters seemed to have the recent Dobbs Supreme Court decision top-of-mind when voting: (21.8%-Abortion, 12.8%-Women’s Issues, 9%-Economy/Jobs, 8.3%-Social Justice, 8.3%-LGBTQ+ Issues, 5.1%-Taxes, 5.1%-Inflation, 3.8%-Environment/Climate Change, 3.2%-COVID-19 Pandemic Response, 2.6%-Immigration Issues, 2.6%-Higher Ed. Issues, 1.3%-Healthcare, 1.3%-Democracy).
Enthusiasm is a topic for concern for both parties during any midterm election cycle, but a majority of survey respondents at Mason reported being “very” or “somewhat” enthusiastic about voting in 2022. 31% said they were “neutral” about voting, but turned out anyway: (38.6%-Very Enthusiastic, 22.3%-Somewhat Enthusiastic, 31%-Neutral, 3.8%-Not Very Enthusiastic, 4.3%-Not Enthusiastic At All).
Curious how Mason voted in 2022?
Check out the results of our 2022 exit polling below:
(Click on an image to enlarge the size)