Plenty Of Firsts On This Election Day

By Emily Adelman, BDJ 364.01

Published on November 8, 2016

Cars flowed in and out of the parking lot of Erwin First United Methodist Church as Onodaga County voters get an early start on Election Day. (c) 2016 Emily Adelman

Onondaga County reactions to voting for the first time

Community members from Onondaga County New York urging people to go vote

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Democracy in Action) — It was a day of firsts for many people this Election Day.  Syracuse residents came and went from the polling station at Erwin First United Methodist Church on Euclid Avenue, many of them doing so for the first time.

“Oh, it was fun,” Michelle Mugo said. Mugo became a citizen only four months ago, and came to the polling station with her daughter, so they could cast their choices together. Originally from Kenya, Mugo explained she was very excited to be voting in an American election for the first time and was surprised that it did not take very long.

“There were no lines, not a lot of waiting, so that was good.”

She also wanted to make it clear who she voted for and why she did.

“Oh I will say quite clearly that I voted for Hillary Clinton, absolutely.  I really do think that the issues she is promising to look at are so critical to the well being of youth, and women.”

After being a professor for 43 years and retiring earlier this year, Mugo knows how important academic issues are, especially to young students and people. She feels as though her choice in candidate should reflect the reforms and ideas she had as a professor and a parent.

While some people may be voting in this country for the first time, another voter has been casting his ballot since he was 18, but this was the first time he physically went into the station and voted for a Presidential candidate.

“This is the first time I think, I think I ever voted for the Presidency.” Bill is an Onondaga County voter who asked that his last name not be used. He cast his ballot early this morning with dozens of other people.

He explained how many of the issues he has with the Presidency stem from what he calls the lack of Judeo-Christian values seen in the country. “Once we step away from those values, our country is basically going down the tubes.” He claims he voted for the person who most aligned with his personal views and values.

Election Day is a time for people to cast their votes for candidates who closely mimic their own values and ideals. But for some citizens, voting is an act of civic duty and should be done whenever possible.

“Everyone needs to vote,” Charmaine Mohammed exclaimed. “Civic duty and its very necessary. Especially in this election. It is crucial.”

Bill from Syracuse also believes that everyone who can needs to get out and vote, so they are not “being robots in the system.”

While this Election Day is a day of firsts for some, many others are excited to return to the polls and happy to be casting their ballots. One voter, when asked how it felt to turn in her ballot, said, “It felt good. It felt right,” with a thumbs up. Another voter emerged from the building with a smile stretched from ear to ear. “I am just glad it is over with,” he exclaimed.