Getting personal at the polls: News 18 talks to first-time voters

Even though the line to cast a ballot looks long, voters at the Purdue Memorial Union say the wait wasn't that bad. (WLFI Photo)
Even though the line to cast a ballot looks long, voters at the Purdue Memorial Union say the wait wasn't that bad. (WLFI Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Many people have been eligible to vote for years but waited until the 2016 Election to cast their first ballot.

Joani Sandefer has been eligible to vote for 35 years, but she never registered until this year.

“My mother, Thelma Aper, was passionate about this year’s election,” said Sandefer. “Unfortunately, I lost my mother this year on August 2nd.”

So, Sandefer decided to vote for the first time in her life this Election Day.

“I did it so that my mother’s vote would still be valid,” she said. “I know she’s proud!”

Josh Morlan, who’s 32 years old, has never voted before either.

“Thought it was time to cast my vote this year,” he said.

Another voter Jennifer Sanders said, “I am definitely a first-time voter and have been registered for years. As of this morning when I woke up, I wasn’t even planning on voting. I literally decided to about noon today.”

The voting line at Purdue Memorial Union was about 45 minutes long, but that didn’t stop Hannah Shields from standing in it while on crutches.

“I have a stress fracture from running,” said Shields.

She said nothing, though, would have stopped her from voting.

Sam Buck was late for a test because of the long line. He hopes his professor will understand his tardiness.

He said, if not, “I’m OK taking the grade hit because of it.”

Buck said he’s pretty passionate about Election Day.

“This is one of the things you do that’s part of the contract of being an American, right?” said Buck.

But unlike those News 18 spoke with, some people still chose not to exercise their right to vote. Buck hopes that changes in the future, even in smaller, off-year elections.

“As engaging as these elections have been and as important, obviously, as they are, it’s also very important to remember that they’re not the only elections and people need to kind of step up in those off years to make sure that their voice is still being heard,” said Buck.