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Learning experience for children, first-time voters

  • Jennifer Dempsey of Amherst, accompanied by her children Emily May, center, 10, and Charlie May, 7, talks to reporter after voting at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Jennifer Dempsey of Amherst, accompanied by her children Emily May, center, 10, and Charlie May, 7, talks to reporter after voting at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts first-year Sammi Gay of New York talks to reporter after casting her ballot at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning. <br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    University of Massachusetts first-year Sammi Gay of New York talks to reporter after casting her ballot at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Friends and Amherst College first-years Gabrielle Mayer (L) of New York City and Tierney Werner of Oregon asked a stranger at the Bangs Center to photograph them with their "I Voted Today" stickers after they voted for the first time Tuesday. Mayer is a Democrat and Tierney is a Republican.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Friends and Amherst College first-years Gabrielle Mayer (L) of New York City and Tierney Werner of Oregon asked a stranger at the Bangs Center to photograph them with their "I Voted Today" stickers after they voted for the first time Tuesday. Mayer is a Democrat and Tierney is a Republican.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ann Armon takes a group of first graders from LGA Schechter school with signs they made urging people to get out and vote Tuesday afternoon.<br/><br/>

    Ann Armon takes a group of first graders from LGA Schechter school with signs they made urging people to get out and vote Tuesday afternoon.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jennifer Dempsey of Amherst, accompanied by her children Emily May, center, 10, and Charlie May, 7, talks to reporter after voting at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • University of Massachusetts first-year Sammi Gay of New York talks to reporter after casting her ballot at the Bangs Center Tuesday morning. <br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Friends and Amherst College first-years Gabrielle Mayer (L) of New York City and Tierney Werner of Oregon asked a stranger at the Bangs Center to photograph them with their "I Voted Today" stickers after they voted for the first time Tuesday. Mayer is a Democrat and Tierney is a Republican.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ann Armon takes a group of first graders from LGA Schechter school with signs they made urging people to get out and vote Tuesday afternoon.<br/><br/>

With Amherst and Hadley elementary schools not in session Tuesday, some voters heading to the polls brought their children along with them, showing them what it’s like to vote.

Jennifer Dempsey of 92 Dana St. in Amherst took her children, Emily May, 10, and Charlie May, 7, into the voting booth with her so they could see firsthand how a ballot is cast.

“They’ve been doing a little bit about this at Pelham Elementary School. It’s a nice way to end their instructions,” Dempsey said.

After voting for candidates, Dempsey also went through each of the ballot questions with her children.

She said even though the presidential election won’t be decided by the electoral votes in Massachusetts, residents in the commonwealth can still contribute to the national vote totals of the candidates.

“I came to vote because I thought it would be a close election. While it may not matter in Massachusetts, it does for the popular vote,” Dempsey said.

Amherst resident William Miller of 45 Hallock St., who brought his son, Morgan, explained how elections work and why the Senate race is important.

Miller admitted to election fatigue. “I’m glad it’s over,” he said.

The initiatives on the ballot gave Miller a chance to talk about other issues as well.

“I liked the opportunity to go over the ballot questions. They are more esoteric,” Miller said.

Significant numbers of local college students came to vote in Amherst, with many casting ballots in a presidential contest for the first time.

Amherst College students Gabrielle Mayer, 19, and Tierney Werner, 18, joked that they were bringing a bipartisan experience to the Bangs Center, and had a poll worker snap their photo to preserve their initial voting participation for posterity.

Mayer, who lives in New York City and is a member of the Amherst College Democrats, helped people register to vote and planned to be in Chicopee working for the Elizabeth Warren campaign.

“I’m going to be canvassing the rest of the day and helping get out the vote for Elizabeth Warren,” Mayer said.

Having been to New York’s polls in the past, Mayer said she was surprised it took her less than 10 minutes to vote.

Werner, from Oregon, recently joined a Republican club at the college and is trying to get more involved. For now, she’s content to have played a role in the election.

“I’m just exercising my right to vote,” Werner said.

Sammi Gay, an 18-year-old freshman at UMass from New York City, said she was inspired to vote by her mother.

“She’s always encouraged me to vote,” Gay said.

“I always pay attention to politics.”

Even as a child, Gay said she had never been to the polls, but said voting was pretty simple and that she is confident in her choices.

Wearing a sticker indicating she voted, she said she was ready to learn the results.

“I’m excited to find out who wins later,” Gay said.

Fellow UMass freshman Paige Ryder, 18, said she wanted to participate the first chance she had.

“It’s a big election. My generation of students will be living through this, so I thought I should make a decision,” Ryder said.

Related

Turnout heavy as voters line up in Hampshire County

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In Amherst, the voting line at the Bangs Center was out the door and starting to snake towards Kellogg Street at 5 p.m. They ran out of “I Voted” stickers, too. South Hadley had traffic tied up on Newton Street in the late afternoon as cars inched into the high school parking lot. The school is the town’s only polling …

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