Some Howard University students traveled hundreds of miles to return home to cast ballots in today’s presidential election. For them, nothing– not classes nor work– was more important than being there.
Valini Gosine said the idea of using an absentee ballot just didn’t sit well.
“I feel like absentee ballots don’t always get counted because there is so much paperwork,” said Gosine, a 21-year-old senior Biology/ Pre-Med Major from Long Island, N.Y. Going to the polls and actually punching the votes myself, I know that my vote counts.” Gosine said she was determined to vote, despite the distance home from Washington, D.C. “I got off work late last night, got on the road at 10:30 p.m,” said Gosine, “and I arrived in New York at 3:30 a.m.” She arrived at the polls at 6:15 a.m. She returned to Washington shortly after voting so she could make her next shift at work. She drove five hours and spent $80, but it was worth it, she said. “I feel like we have already seen a lot– young voters, new voters,” she said. “I am hoping that people are more aware of politics and this election has showed people that everybody needs to be involved.” Korene Jones spent $159 on a 90-minute flight to Detroit so she could vote. Jones, a 21-year-old marketing major from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., was in line at 7 a.m. with her mother and father. Because she was not allowed to wear Obama clothing to the polls, Jones sported a Howard University sweatshirt. She said she “wanted to wear something with a purpose.” Tiara Wiles drove more than three hours to vote. Wiles, 23, a senior radio production major, is returning to Washington today after voting in Pennsylvania, a battleground state for this election. After noticing the relative calm when she arrived at her polling place in Pittsburgh at 8 a.m., Wiles knew that she was no longer in the majority. “I vote at my neighborhood elementary school and the majority of my neighborhood are McCain supporters. There were many McCain and local politician signs and only one Obama sign.” Although Wiles missed two classes to travel home and vote it was not an experience that she was willing to miss. “I wanted to be a part of change,” she said. “I had to come home and do my part.”