Students share first-time voting experiences

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Shelbi Hill, junior in life sciences, and Serenity Hicks, age 10, talk about their thoughts on voting while at the watch party in the K-State Student Union on Nov. 9, 2016. (George Walker | The Collegian)

“I feel scared because the election is not good this year,” 10-year-old Serenity Hicks, future voter, said. “Both of the candidates are bad.”

According to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos on national Election Day, about 15 percent of Americans who voted Tuesday said it was their first time voting in a presidential election.

Voting in this year’s presidential election was a first for many Kansas State students who were in attendance at the Union Program Council watch party at the K-State Student Union Tuesday night.

“I felt really excited (to vote for the first time),” Zanaiya Peebles, freshman in biology, said. “I felt like I did my part as a citizen in America because not a lot of people have that right to make a choice or make the vote, so I feel accomplished.”

The 2016 presidential election was the first chance for Shelbi Hill, junior in life sciences, to express her political opinions in an official manner, she said.

“It was nice to get my voice heard,” Hill said. “That was my first time voting in anything, so I’m glad I got a chance to vote.”

Phoenix Raye Swedlund, freshman in secondary education, said while the election has her “terrified” as a woman, she’s glad she had the opportunity to at least vote for a female candidate for her first time voting in a presidential election.

“As interesting as this election has been, getting to vote for a woman is still pretty cool and I feel like that gets swept under the rug a little bit,” Swedlund said. “But that’s pretty rad, the fact that we get to do that.”

According to Brett Broadbent, freshman in theatre, even casting a mail-in ballot for his first time voting in a presidential election left him feeling like a more active citizen.

“I didn’t get the ‘real’ voting process, but it was fun to be able to research the candidates, even in all the different local elections,” Broadbent said.

The opportunity to vote is one that Lana Herman, freshman in biology, said she has been waiting a long time to take advantage of.

“Having the opportunity to vote has always been something that I’ve looked forward to, and even though these aren’t ideal circumstances, I’m still really proud that I had the opportunity to vote and to participate in the democratic process,” Herman said.

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Hey there! I'm Danielle Cook. I'm currently a freshman in journalism and mass communications. I live for telling true stories, so I hope to be doing it for the rest of my life. Luckily, I also live for late nights and early mornings – as long as there's coffee and I'm in good company.