First Time Voters Take on the Polls

Seniors discuss what it was like to vote for the first time and what to expect


Senior Haley Hahn shows off her ‘I voted’ sticker that she earned on election day.

Caché Goracke, Editor in Chief

Across the U.S. there are a great deal of people who want to vote and yet cannot. According to the Global Citizen some reasons for this include lack of transportation, past convictions, and lack of a government issued photo ID. Additionally there is a percentage of the population who is perfectly capable of voting when it comes to matters like resources, yet still chooses not to. They may feel voting on a work or school day is inconvenient, or that while they do not like either of the candidates, there is no point. This election year however, numerous seniors chose to risk the possible inconveniences and setbacks and ignore the common excuses to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote for the very first time. 

When senior Alvin Morales arrived at the polls he was shocked to find it would not be that inconvenient at all. 

“I go to school in the afternoon and I was able to go early in the morning,” Morales said. “It was not hard at all..I thought there would be a longer line, but I walked right in.” 

He was one of many seniors who felt this way and was surprised by the simpleness of the process. 

“There were only two people in front of me,” senior Haley Hahn said. “I just waited for a few minutes.” 

Hahn went more in depth to describe what her voting experience was like step by step. 

 “I went to a desk where someone scanned my ID,” Hahn said. “Then, another worker walked me to a voting booth and showed me what to do. I clicked on all of my answers including the presidential candidate, senate candidate, some other important positions, and then it asked if a handful of judges should remain in office. Lastly, it asked if I wanted to accept a certain law. After I finished and printed it, I checked my answers and brought it to a scanning machine where I put it and received my ‘I voted’ sticker!”

Hahn mentioned the many other positions, apart from President of the United States, that she was asked to vote for on the ballot. If one were to leave these blank, however, the part of the ballot they did fill out would still be counted. 

Senior Bryce Lutjen explained a little bit regarding how he went about making all the complicated decisions when filling out the ballot. 

“I decided mainly off of the input of my peers and family members,” Lutjen said. “And trying to see the positives of both parties and let one outweigh the other.” 

Lutjen believes one should vote regardless of whether or not they dislike the candidates presented to them. 

“You should be able to find at least one difference between the two that you view as positive,” Lutjen said. 

While Hahn and Morales were left surprised by the convenience of the polls, Lutjen was more surprised by other aspects. 

“I didn’t expect how friendly they were for any first time voters in the room,” Lutjen said. “It was a very fast process and it was up the street from my house at the church.”

It’s good to acknowledge that in many states and counties, it truly can be extremely difficult to vote. This year, in Georgia for example, many people experienced up to 10 hour wait times at the polls. This can be attributed to understaffing, machine malfunctioning, and a limited number of polling stations. So why did these seniors find it so simple? It’s possible that this convenience is due to the fact that Johnson County does not own or run the majority of polling locations in the county, but instead leaves this job open to the community. This is why many people, like Lutjen, found themselves voting in a church or local, community building. 

Morales reflected on his overall voting experience and why it was important for him. 

  “I felt it was good to exercise to my right,” Morales said. “I believe the importance of voting is having a choice on who our leaders are going to be, how it’s going to run, and how it’s going to look in the years ahead.”

Hahn agreed. 

You are deciding who you want running our country,” Hahn said. “Everybody 18 and older has the chance to change our world and that starts by voting.”