Did UNI students swing the vote in Black Hawk County? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Did UNI students swing the vote in Black Hawk County?

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Votes have been counted and most of the races have been called, but some area Republicans are saying University of Northern Iowa students swayed the vote for several Democratic candidates in Black Hawk County.

UNI was a satellite voting location several times before Election Day, and Republicans thought students would use those opportunities to register and vote. But they say Election Day was still extremely busy.

Mac McDonald, chairman of the Black Hawk County Republicans, says so many UNI students voted on Election Day that it caused problems for residents.

"That created such a bottleneck -- we had voters that couldn't wait and turned around and left," said McDonald.

McDonald also said students should have voted in their hometowns, and not their temporary home.

"The UNI students are making decisions for the people who have to live here for four years, and some of them will be gone in months," said McDonald.

For most UNI students, however, this was their first chance to vote in a presidential election.

Jennifer Keitel, a sophomore and basketball player for UNI, voted early.

"I decided to vote here in Cedar Falls. There (were) a lot of people getting us to sign up here on campus. They just asked me, and I just decided to," said Keitel.

Under Iowa law, college students are allowed to vote where they currently live, such as in the dorms in Cedar Falls, or they can go back to their hometown and vote there.

For Keitel, voting in Cedar Falls just made more sense.

"It's fair because I live here and I'm part of this community, and it's my right to vote for this community," said Keitel.

Grant Veeder, Black Hawk County Auditor, says student voter turnout of 2012 was similar to 2008 -- and maybe even less.

"I'm looking at precincts that have large student populations and the boundary lines have changed, but I'm doing my best to make a comparison and I'm actually showing fewer people voting in those precincts than in 2008," said Veeder.

Veeder said the biggest swing in votes came from absentee ballots, with a majority coming from registered Democrats.

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