It’s time to vote! Whether we want to or not, it’s our civic duty as Americans (and students).

I voted this Friday, on Oct. 30 in person at San Pedro Highschool. This was my first time voting in person, and also my first time voting in a presidential election. 

I studied the propositions in the car on the way there from an Instagram slide I had saved. However, I wasn’t prepared to vote on all the local school board legislators in the county of Los Angeles.

It felt special voting for the first time in a presidential election. The options weren’t ideal, and I wish I was voting for our first woman president, but it felt like I was doing something impactful. I would tell future voters to do your research, and if it’s your first time voting, to vote in person if you can because it feels more significant then simply sending in a ballot. 

Those are my answers to the questions I asked my fellow students at Azusa Pacific University about their voting experiences. Here are their answers. 

Was this your first time voting? If so, what does it mean to you? 

“It was not my first time voting, I voted last presidential election as well but each time is exhilarating because I’m able to put my input in these really important matters of our country.”

– Sierra Mann, senior communications major

“To me, voting is a civil duty that I believe we all should partake in. I was so excited to be able to vote for the first time!”

– Olivia Archibald, senior psychology major

“It was my first time. To me, voting means changing my community to become the place I want my children to grow up in.”

Joshua Aguirre, junior psychology major

“Yes this was my first time voting, it meant a lot to me to be able to vote in such an important election and have my voice heard during such a crucial time.”

– Chloe Helffenstein, junior public relations major 

How did you feel this year voting?

“This year feels a lot more intense than the last election. There was so much at stake in the last presidential election, but so many people didn’t use their voice to vote. But I think a lot of people understand the severity of it this time around.”

– Sierra Mann

“This year voting I felt apprehensive. It was scary because I was afraid of being shamed by people because of who I voted for.”

– Olivia Archibald

“I especially made sure to vote because this election will impact the world for the next four years, and we need to make sure we don’t ruin it.” 

– Joshua Aguirre

“I felt really excited to vote, it felt very good to have a say in this election.” 

– Chloe Helffenstein 

What was the process like for you? 

“Honestly it was so fun. I got my ballot in the mail, and for once it felt so cool to get mail.”

– Sierra Mann

“The voting process was easy. I was able to go to my local library and vote there.”

– Olivia Archibald

“The process was fairly simple. I got a ballot in the mail, filled it out and then dropped it off at a drop box. The only thing that was kinda overwhelming was how much was on the ballot, but I found a really helpful website that gave me info on all candidates, not just presidential, and let me create an online ballot before filling out the real one.”

– Chloe Helffenstein 

Did being a current student impact your voting experience? 

“Being a college student impacted my voting experience in that I’m surrounded by intellectuals who are passionate about politics, so in a way I’m better educated to make my own decisions.

Voting in Texas is interesting because it’s a primarily red state. As someone who leans more left, it’s hard to feel supported in my decisions.” 

– Olivia Archibald

“Being a student definitely impacted my way of voting because I want a leader who makes it easier for college students to go to school, and pay their loans without adding other obstacles to go through to succeed.”

– Joshua Aguirre

How was voting in Texas?

“Texas is very divided, people are either very liberal or very conservative. In recent years, Texas has become much like a swing state, especially with so many people moving here. I’m interested to see what happens this year!”

– Olivia Archibald

How was voting in Colorado?

I think my current living situation made voting easier, since in CO every registered voter is mailed a ballot (I think lol) and I live really close to several drop off locations. The part of CO that I live in is pretty republican, but the state as a whole leans to the left. I feel like there was a bit more pressure to vote for Trump because I’ve seen more trump signs and flags then Biden ones, plus my parents are republicans. 

– Chloe Helffenstein

What would you want to tell future voters?

“Sometimes it may feel like the country is on fire (politically) and there’s nothing you can do about it no matter how much you fight, but you can! You can vote! It may seem small. But it’s so huge and important! And really does make a ginormous difference!” 

– Sierra Mann

“To future voters, I would say educate yourself and make your decisions based on what you think is best.” 

– Olivia Archibald

“I would want to tell future voters to take the time to read everything. I sat down and read all the propositions to make sure I understood what they would do and who they would affect. You can’t rely on the advertisements we see on TV or in the paper to tell us how to vote.”

– Joshua Aguirre

“I would want to tell future voters to have a plan in place, do your research and ultimately make sure you vote in time and in a way that works for you so you make sure your vote is counted!”

– Chloe Helffenstein