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A First-time Voting Experience: Arianna Gomez, Maryland

As told by Arianna Gomez
Salisbury, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Arianna wears large, silver hoop earrings and has long, black hair as she sits in a classroom setting.

This snapshot was gathered in conjunction with the Maryland Voices initiative at Maryland Humanities, specifically to supplement the "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. This collection, made up of stories of first-time voters between the ages of 18 and 24, showcases the experiences of young people as they wrestled with the 2020 presidential election, issues around social justice, the environment, immigration, and the pandemic. 

Arianna Gomez (00:01): My name is Arianna Gomez. I am from originally Laurel, Maryland. I grew up in PG County my whole life, but now I study at Salisbury University. I am a K-12 ESL certification major. That essentially boils down to just me wanting to help people learn English as a second language in academic schooling, as well as also trying to help teach people who are adult ESL learners.

Arianna Gomez (00:34): It was not my first time voting in an election, but it was my first time voting in the mail-in ballot option for this election due to the pandemic, but I did vote in the 2016 election and that was my first time voting. I remember voting in the primary elections and just the feeling of getting out, going early to my voting center, which was a local elementary school. I was the first one there, super ready to go ahead and do my civic duty as a US citizen.

Arianna Gomez (01:11): I went in, voted, got my sticker, came out and I felt like it was so important for myself and for my family to go out and vote, mainly because one of my parents is not able to vote. I felt like my vote wasn't just for myself, but for others who can't vote and can't cast their ballot, but they still would like to have some form of representation from others who understand their plight and understand how you're voting for people who are making decisions who cannot do that themselves. I think it was really important going into voting for both elections.

Arianna Gomez (01:52): I did feel a little bit nervous going into the 2020 presidential election, mainly because there was so much going on, so much mass media reporting on different things and how there's so many instances of people who are trying to stop others from voting, and so many different media sources telling you about the election, what could happen. Although I was very certain of my vote and of the people of those around me, I wasn't certain for my future for that of others. It was definitely a scary experience, but I'm very enlighted to see the results and to see that my vote did count, and it did go towards a better future that I'm optimistic about.

Asset ID: 2021.03.04.d
Themes: Voting, democracy, elections, participation, 2020, 2016
Date recorded: February 1, 2021
Length of recording: 02:45 m
Related traveling exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Edward R. Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University, in partnership with Maryland Humanities
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