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Thrill Of Voting For The First Time Undampened By Rain Near Princeton

This story was written by Maria Cury, The Daily Princetonian

The risk of soggy campaign posters didnt stop three teenagers from the Princeton Friends School from standing at a curb near the Trinity Church polling station late Tuesday afternoon. As it began to rain, the 13-year-old students, though they couldnt cast a ballot, waved signs that read Vote and Honk for Obama to guide voters to the booths.

We just really wanted to be part of this, student Sam Koffman said between car honks.

A police car pulled up shortly afterward, and the officer asked the students to refrain from waving the Obama posters due to the noise disturbances they created. After the officer left, however, cars began honking once more.

Meanwhile, at the booths, first-time voters formed a winding line to cast their ballots despite the wet weather.

I wanted to vote because I never voted before, [and] I think its really important that your opinion be heard, sophomore Heather Rosengard said, arriving at the polls in yellow rain boots and a soggy coat. If you dont vote, you cant complain for the next four years.

Anticipating long lines, Princeton senior Davion Chism went to the station with a group of friends.

We all have umbrellas, were prepared, we just wanted to vote, Chism said.

I just hope [my vote] went through, senior Gabrielle Wilson said.

Some first-time voters were concerned about issues with the voting machines.

Senior Christopher Molosso said he was worried because the person voting before him had to re-enter the booth due to issues casting the ballot. But he had no problems. It was easy, quick, he said.

Some students had to cast provisional ballots due to problems with registration.

Senior Ekaterina Mamyshev, who was also voting for the first time, said that, because she is from another county in New Jersey, she voted by provisional ballot even though there is a chance it could not be counted.

It was sort of expected, but I dont think its going to make a huge impact, she said. Its just for the experience.

Others, however, said they felt enthusiastic about their role in the election process.

The first election I voted [in], I had to be dragged to the polls. I felt that that the Electoral College was a disenfranchising system, graduate student Tomiko Ballantyne-Nisbett said, but she added that Tuesday, as she cast her vote for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., her feelings were very different.

This is the most important day in my young life, she said.

But one aspect of the voting process at the polls did dampen many eager voters who were surprised that New Jersey doesnt give out I Voted stickers at the stations.

Im ridiculously disappointed right now. I wanted to save my sticker, Freshman Ailea Stites said. But sticker aside, it was a good voting experience.

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