First time voting, kind of nervous


A “Vote Here” sign outside of the Maxwell Elementary Voting location. Voters came out early in the morning to vote in the midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Maxwell Elementary Voting location in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff file photo

La’Miya Starnes, Reporter

Diamond Harrell, a sophomore and nursing major at the University of Kentucky, was a first-time voter in the 2022 Midterm Election. 

“My mom and dad were always very active during election time. Usually during election time, I am always with either one of them at the polls, and it was so inspirational,” she said. 

Harrell is an out-of-state student from Columbus, Ohio, and this year, the moment came when she exercised her constitutional voting right. While she was excited to be voting, she questioned how she would vote in Columbus away from home.  

“This may sound crazy, but I did not know how much research you actually have to do before you vote,” she said. 

One of Harrell’s main research topics was the absentee ballot, also known as mail in votes. 

According to the NPR program “Up First,” mail-in votes are becoming more popular between each election cycle, with more than 1.4 mail-in ballots requested this year.

Harrell had to decide if she would vote from Kentucky or vote in her hometown. Her mom recommended that she vote early, and so she traveled three hours home to vote in Columbus, Ohio, in a separate poll from her mother.  

The process was not challenging, but she said, “I was very nervous because I was wondering, what if my vote doesn’t matter?” 

Prior to her voting right becoming established, Harrell remembers some of her peers saying their vote would not make a difference. 

“I feel like some people our age do not participate in elections because we feel like nothing will change,” she said. “Our generation should become or remain politically engaged so all of our voices can matter.” 

Harrell explained that all elections are significant. She said she understands how some of her peers may wait for presidential elections, but “the main reason I wanted to vote this election and not wait was because of abortion. I am a woman, so I felt like I had to … It is not to say we don’t have good representatives in offices, but I was having to look at policies first, then the candidate.”

On campus, Harrell said UK hosted events that were very informative to voting, including having people assist students in registering to vote as they walk through the Gatton Student Center.