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Taking A Walk With Lafayette High Schoolers To Their First Election

Stan Jastrzebski

In an election year that’s been frustrating for so many, students at Lafayette’s Jefferson High School marched to the polls Tuesday with a sense of forward-looking optimism.

The day dawned rainy, but it had let up by the time the first group of Jeff High students walked across 18th Street to the county fairgrounds around 8:15 a.m.

Some of these students, who are studying government and American history, have turned 18 in time to vote for the first time.

“No one else is really going to vote for my best interests, so now that I’m 18, I figured it’s my time to give my words on it," said Collin Woodruff, 18.

Though they felt a sense of duty, and were welcomed by League of Women Voters members cheering them on with noisemakers, the students said they were a little apprehensive walking to the polling location.

“Yeah, I’m nervous too. I feel like it’s the first thing that I will have done that kind of secures my adulthood. So it’s nerve-wracking," 18-year old Chase Swingle said.

The students all knew to bring their photo IDs and were in and out after only a short wait. Matthew Bishop was the first of the students to come out.

“I feel really good," Bishop said. "I feel like I did the decision that I needed to do and help our democracy grow as it should.”

And as for whom this initial group of six first-time voters chose for president? Three votes for Hillary Clinton, two for Gary Johnson and one for Donald Trump.

In fact, the entire Jefferson High School student body – including those not yet legally old enough to vote – held a mock presidential election today, too -- with Clinton defeating Trump by 10 percentage points.