In a time of political polarization, citizens of all ages are showing up to polls in Syracuse to make their voices heard.
“I feel exhilarated, I’m so excited to vote!” said LeMoyne College student Natalia Constantine. “Even though it’s one vote and people say it doesn’t actually count, it counts to me.”
Although this is Constantine’s first year voting in an election, she has been prepared for this moment since she saw families being separated at the border on television.
“My parents were first-generation immigrants from Sri Lanka and when I saw immigrant families being torn apart, it really spoke to me,” said Constantine. “People like that don’t deserve to be separated, they deserve to be here as much as all of us.”
Constantine identifies as Independent, but “I still looked more at the Democrats because the Republicans weren’t my favorite at the moment.”
“But I still researched the Republican side, saw what they had to say and compared between the two and made my decision from there,” she said.
After weighing both options, “I went Democratic, I voted democratic all the way down the ballot,” said Constantine.
Similarly, freelance camera operator Grant Dobbins voted to make a statement.
“I just really have a problem with the leadership in the White House and the response or non-response from the Republican party, so that’s a big driver for me,” said Dobbins. “I really felt it was important more this time than other times to send a message.”
Dobbins, who’s first vote was for Jimmy Carter, said voting is not only an opportunity, but a responsibility of the public.
“It’s something a lot of people fought for us to have and we should honor that by coming out and voting,” said Dobbins. “No matter what side you’re on.”
But ultimately, a primary characteristic of democracy is it is lead by the people—who can change their minds.
“It’s an ongoing process and I think anyone who doesn’t take advantage of it is really missing an opportunity and quite honestly not doing [their] civic duty,” said Dobbins.