The First Time Voting Experience

Former Panthers Experience an “overwhelming” and “important” Process


Angel B

Beverly Yirenkyi from the Class of 2020 voted in-person and thought that the experience was both “familiar, yet overwhelming.”

Angel Benjamin, Co Editor-in-Chief

The presidential election of 2020 was, arguably, the most stressful election in American history. Tensions were felt across the nation as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans to rely on mail-in voting to cast their ballots. Millions of others braved the elements and the stress of in-person voting and stood in long lines, masked and socially distanced, for hours outside of voting centers on November 3rd. For many in both groups, this was the first time exercising their right to vote, and they did so excitedly in this critical election.

Many Paint Branch alumni graced the voting rolls in 2020 and happily cast their ballots for president as well as for people running in other local and state races. For each of these new voters the challenge of these difficult times was no match for their desire to cast their ballot – by mail or in-person – in order to have their voice heard. Luana Rojas, from the class of 2020, admitted that voting for her felt “kinda bittersweet” as “mailing-in was kinda a let down.”   

Fellow class of 2020 member Beverly Yirenkyi thought that the voting experience was both “familiar, yet overwhelming.” Opting for in-person voting, Beverly found it “nice” but also “more obligatory than empowering.” 

On the other hand, Jennette Nolasco, also from the class of 2020, noted that voting did feel “empowering,” while the 2020 grad Hebron Admassu believed it was an “experience like no other.” For each of these new voters, though, the importance of voting, especially in this tense and divisive political climate, was a key part of their desire to vote. Now, with their first presidential election under their belt, they all intend to carry on this tradition and fulfill their responsibility for years to come.