North Texas Daily

Voters of Denton

Voters of Denton

Voters of Denton
November 09
12:49 2022

Citizens of Denton, Texas were out on Tuesday for Election Day as dozens of polling locations were open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Various reporters were at these locations to ask voters why they choose to participate in this year’s election.

Ella Salerno

Ella Salerno poses for a photo outside of the Denton Wesley Foundation polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Ella Salerno, a University of North Texas sophomore from Austin who is pre-majoring in studio art, said the governor’s race was most important to her. She voted for the first time today.

“There’s just a lot of legislation being put through that is really disheartening and scary, especially under Abbott,” Salerno said on transgender issues.

Her decision to vote for Beto O’Rourke was not one she made on Election Day.

“I’ve known that I wanted to vote for Beto since before I could even vote,” she said.

Salerno said her voting experience was easier than she had anticipated.

“I was nervous going into it, but it really was not scary at all,” Salerno said.

McKinnon Rice

Jordan Castleberry

Jordan Castleberry poses for a photo outside of the University Gateway Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Jordan Castleberry is a biochemistry major at the university and is anticipated to graduate in 2024. She is a supporter of Proposition B.

“I voted for it because I know personally friends and family members who have been arrested because of very minor marijuana possession, and it’s kind of ruined their lives,” Castleberry said. “It’s hard to get jobs just for something that is already legal in so many states that it’s obvious that it doesn’t completely ruin citizens’ lives, but arresting them for it does.”

Women’s rights and inflation were also among the issues important to Castleberry, who wore a t-shirt that read, “Beto for y’all.”

“I always know that, even though it’s only one vote, it is my voice and it matters, and I want to vote every time I can,” she said.

McKinnon Rice

Melina Castillo

Melina Castillo poses for a photo outside of the Denton Wesley Foundation polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Melina Castillo is a social sciences junior at the university. She voted for the first time today.

Education was an important issue to her, as she plans to become a history teacher. Castillo said she does not agree with the GOP’s actions on education.

“The GOP has made it so that a lot of history cannot be taught,” she said. “I want to teach a lot about, the gay rights movement, and you can’t really teach that.”

Decriminalizing marijuana was also a priority for Castillo.

“Voting Prop B was very important to me too,” she said. “I feel like if you go to jail for something so small as marijuana use that everyone does, especially white people who aren’t being imprisoned for that – and it’s mostly minorities – I feel like it just keeps the stigma going.”

McKinnon Rice

Makayla Breedlove and Hunter Cotton

Makayla Breedlove and Hunter Cotton pose for a photo outside of the Denton Wesley Foundation polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Makayla Breedlove and Hunter Cotton graduated from the university last May.

“Honestly, getting rid of Abbott was my biggest thing,” Cotton said. “I don’t line up exactly with Beto, but, much closer, for sure.”

Breedlove named several issues that were important to her.

“Most important for me was legalizing marijuana, rights to abortion and LGBTQ rights, so voting for people who are going to be pro those things and put out positive [legislation],” she said.

Cotton said the governor’s race was most important to him, with the lieutenant governorship second.

McKinnon Rice

Shea Rooks

Shea Rooks poses for a photo outside of the Denton Civic Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Hana Musa

Texas Women’s University political science and dance education major Shea Rooks was turned away at two other polling locations before finally voting at her location at the Denton Civic Center. Despite the confusion, concerns about the public education system’s treatment of minority students drove her to the polls. 

“I feel like our voices aren’t necessarily heard, especially in schools where it is majority white,” Rooks said.

Rooks criticized schools that boast racially diverse students while having exclusively white employees and hopes the politicians she votes for will work to diversify public school employees.

“That’s not to say they’re racist or anything,” Rooks said. “They just don’t understand minority issues.” 

Hana Musa

Andrew Brophy

Andrew Brophy poses for a photo outside of the Denton Civic Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Hana Musa

Denton resident and manufacturing engineer at Wabtec Corporation Andrew Brophy said he found the voting process at Denton Civic Center a little odd.

“It doesn’t verify your selections at all,” Brophy said.

Poll machines are inspected for bugs before and after Election Day, and multiple election volunteers are involved in maintaining the integrity of this year’s election. Still, Brophy wanted to see that his selections were confirmed.

“I’m not one of those people that think there’s a bunch of voter fraud,” Brophy said. “It’s just, given the amount of attention [the election] is getting, [the poll machines] should show [it reading] the paper correctly.” 

Hana Musa

Leah Jordan

Leah Jordan poses for a photo outside of the North Texas Fairgrounds polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Avery Ricco

The polling station on North Carroll Boulevard in Denton saw residents taking advantage of the time they have on their lunch break and using it to exercise their constitutional rights. Leah Jordan is one of those residents.

“Freedom of education but also support in making those choices,” Jordan said when asked what issues she thinks are the most important in this election. “I think that’s probably the biggest one for me right now.”

Jordan said she came into today knowing who she wanted to vote for in most instances.

“In some cases, I’ve known for a while,” Jordan said. “I’ve had the benefit of knowing a number of folks here locally and in some cases, like for the propositions, I’ve made [that] decision today.”

Jordan said she was happy with the way the voting process went.

“It was very easy,” says Jordan as she places her hands on the shoulders of son standing in front of her. “I brought my nine-year-old, so he got to learn from the process.”

Avery Ricco

Viola Stewart

Viola Stewart poses for a photo outside of the North Texas Fairgrounds polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Avery Ricco

The parking lot at 2217 N. Carroll Blvd. began to empty following the lunch break crowd when Viola Stewart walked into the station, ready to cast her vote.

“Definitely rights for women,” Stewart said after being asked what issues she considers to be of the utmost importance. “Not raising our taxes and getting a new governor.”

One of the issues in this year’s election is women’s rights, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. Stewart said she thinks this will bring out more voters.

“I think the abortion issue is going to stick out for a lot of women,” Stewart said. “Taking away women’s rights, and hopefully [we’ll be] seeing more women out voting for their rights so I think that’s really going to stick out a lot this year, I hope it does.”

Avery Ricco

Jeff Russell

Jeff Russell poses for a photo outside of the University Gateway Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Jeff Russell, 35, has lived in Denton for 20 years. He said the economy and southern border were the issues that were most important to him.

“Well, you can’t afford anything – how are we supposed to live?” he said. “The southern border — there’s so much drugs and trafficking going across there, it’s not safe.”

Russell voted on Election Day because although he is often busy with work, he was free Tuesday evening.

Russell said his voting experience was “pretty smooth.”

McKinnon Rice

Andrea Montgomery

Andrea Montgomery poses for a photo outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Bulot

“I grew up Republican, and then when I got married, my husband is Libertarian, but I started realizing that my values as a person, morally and ethically don’t align with the values I had learned growing up,” Andrea Montgomery said. “And it was kind of just as soon as I started voting.”

Denton local Montgomery finished voting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.

“I don’t want another Donald Trump,” Montgomery said. “I want to make sure that we don’t have a Republican majority in the House and the Senate and Republican values in this very blue town.”

Elizabeth Bulot

Emily Bounds

Emily Bounds poses for a photo outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Bulot

Denton local Emily Bounds casts her vote on the final hour of election day.

“Local races are definitely my favorites and the ones I care about the most,” Bounds said. “They are the ones you have the most effect on. My vote isn’t going to be ever the tipping point in the scale, but it’s still important as a majority. I need to make sure that I do get out here, so I set myself a timer. Usually, I do early vote, I just forgot.”

Bounds went on to say what issues are important to her and are the reason she is voting.

“I’ve never liked Greg Abbott,” Bounds said. “So, I always just vote against him hoping he’ll eventually not be there. I like Beto. He’s got a lot of good qualities. Normally, I don’t like anybody at all. But I like him.”

Elizabeth Bulot

Kristiana Hamedi

Kristiana Hamedi poses for a photo outside of the University Gateway Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Kristiana Hamedi, 36, said abortion was an important issue for her.

“Cause I’m a woman,” Hamedi said. “Cause I have a daughter. Cause I am a queer woman […] I don’t think for us as queer people it’s taken very seriously that, no matter how you identify, it’s a human right, it’s not just a woman’s right. […] I don’t even have a uterus and it’s important to me.”

Hamedi said her experience voting for the first time was “very different” from her experience this Election Day.

“I grew up very Southern Baptist so I very much identified with, my grandparents, and parents, and it’s very interesting now to be an adult and really, know what I stand for and not just what somebody else stands for,” she said. “It was exciting, just like it is today, but it means so much more to me today than it did then.”

McKinnon Rice

Adarius McKay

Adarius McKay poses for a photo outside of the University Gateway Center polling location on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by McKinnon Rice

Adarius McKay, a UNT senior majoring in consumer experience management, said no issues were particularly important to him, but the governor’s race was.

“Yeah, we trying to get Abbott out of there for sure,” he said.

McKay said he voted on Election Day because before he was busy and had procrastinated, but added that, “when it came time for the last day, I made sure I got in there.”

“Voting is important because […] it controls everything that happens in our society, so, if you don’t get out here and vote, then you don’t have a say in what’s going on,” he said.

McKinnon Rice

Featured Image: A vote here today sign sits outside of the North Branch Library polling location on Nov. 9, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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