Ramapo Students Vote for the First Time

For many Ramapo students, this past election was the first time they were able to vote in a presidential election.

Although many students knew who they were voting for, some students remained undecided right up until the moment they placed their ballot. Students' reasons for supporting each candidate varied, but that did not discourage them from participating.

"I voted for Obama. I wanted to take part in this election because it is our right as Americans to vote, and everyone should have a say because politics inadvertently affects everyone," said freshman Anthony Scalia, a member of the Ramapo College Democrats.

Whether students were voting for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, most felt that their choice was best for the country and were eager to take part in the election in order to have their voice heard.

"I voted for Romney, because I feel that he can get us out of debt. I think that it is our right as an individual to vote and we should not take that opportunity for granted," said freshman Kevin Costantino.

The vast majority of students participated in their first election, but many had mixed reactions about the voting process. Some found the procedure simple while others were not even able to try their hand at voting.

"I had a lot of classes and no way to get to a nearby poll even though I would have liked to vote," said freshman Jimmy Kostka.

Numerous students were enthusiastic about the election and followed it closely. Members of both political factions had a keen eye on their respective parties and candidates.

"I was able to follow the election closely, not only for my First Year Seminar class, but also for my own personal interest in the race," said freshman Mike Grisley, a Romney supporter.

Megan Garton, a freshman, said that while she had not voted yet, she plans on taking advantage of the new electronic voting option available to New Jersey residents after the recent devastation from Hurricane Sandy. She was upset when she found out a Mahwah polling place was turning away Ramapo College students to vote because of misunderstanding and a lack of provisional ballots.

"I was so excited to vote; it's awesome that we can decide something so huge," Garton explained.

She was in a unique First Year Seminar class this fall. She felt FYS: Presidential Election 2012 placed a significant impact on the importance of the election to her and her classmates. Garton said her vote is going to Romney based on his economic promise.

Other first-time voters, like David Resnick, agreed that Romney had potential to revive the American economy.

"I just want a little bit of a change," Resnick, a sophomore, said about his vote for Romney.

He said that his apathetic peers should take advantage of their time to change the country, especially because it only happens every four years.

"It's important to vote – it's our right as Americans," said Resnick.

Muniath Choudhury, a junior, shared Resnick's sentiments about the importance of voting.

"Our country needs a good leader to deal with all of the problems that are piling up," Choudhury said about her choice to vote for Obama.

Voting was particularly exciting for her because she woke up thinking she wouldn't be able to.

"I was registered to vote at home, and I couldn't have gone home today. Since the voting areas were changed because of the storm, I was able to vote at the temple down the road," said Choudhury.

Choudhury explained that while she knew she would be voting for Obama for a long time, she still tried to inform herself on the issues and on both of the political parties' policies and stances. 

Lauren Pisano did not feel as prepared for the election as other first-time voting students did.

"I didn't follow the election that well. I didn't have enough time to catch up on what was going on," Pisano, a freshman, said about following the election.

Like Pisano, Stephanie Healy said that she felt she did not have enough time to follow the election, but made time for it.

"I knew I wanted to vote, but I felt like I wasn't informed, so I started watching the debates," Healy, a sophomore, explained about her decision.

Healy expressed that among the most important issues that made her vote for Obama, was his stance on gay marriage and equal rights for everyone.

"Those were deciders for me," Healy said.

Michael Marsh, a freshman, said that students should follow the election because it is their civil right in the Amendments.

"I voted today to contribute to my country. It feels good to do something for America, and it's one of the only ways I can do something for it," Marsh said.