Big crowds flocked to the polls Friday for the last day of early voting in an election that many voters have been waiting years, and in some cases decades, to take part in.
Ruby Stevenson and her fellow election workers at Sunnyside Multi-Service Center were literally cheering for each and every voter casting their ballot for the very first time, a unique welcome that’s led to a lot of smiles, and even some publicity.
“(The boys) try to play it cool,” Stevenson said. “They don’t want nobody looking at them, but the girls are really excited.”
Stevenson says many of those first-time voters aren’t just Millennials but also people in their 30s, 40s and even older.
“Now we had a lot of them when Obama ran, but I see more,” said Stevenson, who’s served as an election worker for seven years. “This is more.”
“It feels amazing,” said Ena Aparicio, a first-time voter who was cheered on Friday before casting her ballot. “It does set examples for the younger people, so they know that they have a voice.”
Aparicio came to the polls with two of her classmates and their government teacher, Wes Trevino.
“I really wanted all of my kids to actually get to participate in the process,” Trevino said. “There’s no word to describe that kind of pride. It really does escape description.”
The chance to cast a vote on the 2016 ballot was years in the making for the youngest voters, and generations in the making for the oldest.
Across town at the Metropolitan Multiservices Center, Ellen Cohen, Houston Mayor Pro Tem, took her 101-year-old mother, dressed in white like those who fought for women’s right to vote, to cast her vote on Thursday.
“She was born before women had the right to vote,” Cohen said. “I think she was a little bit overcome.”
The chance to vote on a ballot featuring a female presidential candidate was another first in a lifetime full of them.
“The things she’s seen in her life, the changes,” Cohen said. “An African-American president, quite possibly a female president.”
Early voting runs until 7 p.m. Friday. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.