This time around, my election experience was completely different, yet with similar elements.
During the last general election, I was 16 years old and just as many months away from being eligible to vote. We had discussed the presidential election in several of my classes, especially in American History as well as Spanish. Both teachers were very passionate about advocating to their students the value of civic engagement.
This year, especially from being in the newsroom and the Journalism School, I was also reminded of my responsibility to be informed about the issues of political matters and voice my opinion with my own vote.
My fellow reporters at the Missourian have done a phenomenal job of covering the state and local issues, as well as the presidential election at large. When I was given the opportunity to also partake in the coverage of the election, I jumped at the chance.
So this morning, I woke up well before my usual waking time to yet again venture down to Ashland. Nuria, a public life reporter, and I had chosen to cover the Southern Boone County Senior Center polling location. We were there by 7:10 a.m. and weren’t the only ones outside the center talking to voters.
Wearing a long-sleeve white shirt under a bright red T-shirt supporting Proposition 1 for “Putting Kids First,” Bob was a volunteer reminding people about the amendment and encouraging its support. He had been out there in the 40 degree drizzle for an hour before we arrived.
I managed to catch a couple people coming out from the polls to ask about whey they were voting and what particular issues or candidates shaped their decisions in casting their ballot. Many emphasized the importance of voting, several mentioned their support of Proposition B to raise the cigarette tax and help fund education, and one spoke about his votes for several democratic candidates on the ballots.
Inside, we also spoke with some of the volunteer poll judges. Jennifer Lee was handing out the iconic “I Voted” stickers, and I talked to her about how she likes to volunteer for the effort and also see people out in the community.
After sufficiently warming up in the comforts of the senior center, Nuria and I headed back to the newsroom to contribute to a collection of voter quotes about the election and a few longer vignettes about their experiences.