Voting for the first time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Poll watchers stationed around Selma reported a trickle of true first-time voters around the city during Tuesday’s presidential primary. Some came out to vote early, some came out during lunchtime, and many came in the late afternoon.

For those voters, it was truly a Super Duper Tuesday.

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For Courtney Morgan, a 19-year-old senior at Selma High School, voted for the first time at Byrd Elementary, literally up the street from where he lives.

“It’s a relief off of me,” Morgan said of going out to vote. “Once you get a chance to vote, you should.”

Morgan, a Democrat, said he was excited to be participating in the Super Tuesday events and is anticipating the results.

“It’s to change things around here, you know?” Morgan said. “That’s why you should vote.”

Morgan said both Obama and Clinton have impressed him as candidates.

“It’s a tough run,” Morgan said. “But whoever comes out on top, I wish the best of luck for them.

“I like both of them, so if either one of them comes out on top, I’m going to like it,” he added.

Morgan will possibly earn extra credit for coming out to participate in the primary. “That’s what my first-period teacher said, but I don’t know,” Morgan said with a laugh.

Morgan said he has encouraged friends to vote, like his parents encouraged him.

“I think a change is going to come,” Morgan said.

Earnestine Walker, a poll watcher at Tipton Middle School, said several Wallace Community College students came during lunchtime to vote. “It was really cute,” Walker said. “We had to show them where to go.”

Political experts say new and young voters will play a significant role in the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

“I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you we’ve had hundreds,” Pat Phillips, who spent all day Tuesday at work in the voter registration office in the Dallas County courthouse, said about the number of newly registered voters.

Records from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office show that there were 391 first-time registrants in Dallas County for the month of January alone.