Election Day is here, and while it’s important for everyone to go out and cast their votes, first-time voters like model Chanel Iman, singer/actress Keke Palmer and “Awkward.” star Ashley Rickards did not take their new obligation lightly.
Iman was in Ohio this week greeting early voters along with Vivica A. Fox and Liya Kebede.
“It was important to me to really get involved. … I always wanted to spread the word of how important it is to vote, because young people do have a voice,” Iman told MTV News. “We are the leaders of the next generation, so we have to use voting as a tool to express our vision of this country.”Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and more rep for hip-hop kings who vote.
Iman cast her vote for Obama in New York state, but with Hurricane Sandy looming over the Tri-State Area just a few days before the polls opened, she admitted that she took necessary precautions. “I got an absentee ballot early because I didn’t know where I was going to be with the hurricane. I didn’t want Sandy to stop me from voting,” she explained. “I didn’t know what the situation was, so I just thought I’d vote early, and I just felt really good after I voted. I just felt proud to be an American citizen and have a voice.”
Just like Iman, Palmer took precautionary measures so she wouldn’t miss her first opportunity to vote.
“Because I knew I was going to be away from home on November 6, I applied online to receive an early ballot, I filled it out, sealed the envelope, signed the back and mailed it in, so I did not have to deal with the long lines,” she told MTV News. “Once I sealed the envelope, I felt really good and proud of myself, because some people died for the right to vote. When you think about that, I don’t know how you cannot vote.”Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Big Sean and more celebs tweet about hitting the polls.
Even if she had to ask for a bit of help, it was all worth it in the end. “My first-time voting experience was exciting and confusing all at the same time,” Palmer said. “I had to ask my mom to help me with all of the propositions on the ballot; I did not understand a lot of them, but I wanted to take the time to learn how to vote correctly. She went through each one with me until I understood what they were asking.”
Rickards allotted some time to research each candidate thoroughly before hitting the polls today. “I’ve read all I can on each candidate. In the end, knowledge is power. I already knew what was important to me, my views on the current state of our nation and the ideas I supported for America’s future,” she told MTV News. “The candidate I’m supporting reflects this and reflects a respect for this little thing called ‘church vs. state.’ #History101.”What is the Electoral College and how does it work?
A few of the issues Rickards considered before casting her very enthusiastic vote for President Obama was his stance on women’s rights and LGBT rights. “I believe pro-choice is just that: a choice. I believe gay rights are just that: a right,” she explained passionately. “To rob the ‘land of the free’ of their freedom of choice; to potentially suddenly deny this country something that is not only already widely used, but that also currently prevents the spread of disease, that is not ‘believing in America.’
“To prohibit the LGBT from a tradition of love and then to segregate them as if they are undeserving of the choice to marry the people they love, that is not ‘believing in America,’ ” she continued. “That is a gross violation of our freedom as Americans and a complete disregard for the challenges, battles and lives lost in order to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. #NotAboutWillSmithsMovie.”
Despite the humor in some of her remarks, Rickards, just like Iman and Palmer, felt very strongly about exercising her right to vote for the first time. And we have a feeling it won’t be their last time either.
Stick with MTV News all Election Day for results, analysis and reports from Chicago, Boston and New York until a winner is declared. Share your voting stories by tweeting @MTVNews with the hashtags #GoVote or #IVoted!