ELECTION DAY UPDATE (6:30 p.m.) -- Young voters make their mark at Lamar polling site

Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 4, 2008, 12:22pm

Wisheka Lomax walked out of the Health & Human Performance Complex at Lamar University clutching her voter's registration card in her hand and with a big smile on her face.

"That felt good," the 18 year old said of her first time to vote.

Lomax was one of many students taking advantage of their right to vote by casting ballots on campus. The HHP Complex was the polling place for Lamar University students who lived on campus and had registered with their campus address as their primary residence. It was also the polling location for Precinct 75 residents.

The criminal justice student said she had voted for Barack Obama.

"We need a change," she said.

Lomax said she voted in every one of the other races on the ballot as well, but admitted she was not as familiar with some of the down-ballot races such as those for state Supreme Court justices.

Election clerk Nettie Darden said the campus polling site had seen a tremendous student turn out throughout Election Day.

"We've had at least 200 voters," she said around 4 p.m. Tuesday. "That is not the norm. That's about three times more than usual."

Darden said many organizations had come to campus during election season to help register young voters.

"They did a very good job, too," she said.

Clerks said there was some confusion at the polling place, as many students were unaware that they had to be registered as campus residents to vote there.

"Some came and found out that they were still registered at their parent's address, and could not vote," Darden said.

One 27-year-old political science major leaving the polling site was one of those that was unable to vote.

"I'm from Michigan, and I tried to vote absentee, but I applied too late," he said. "I planned to vote for John McCain. I agree with his foreign policy and with his tax plans."

Another first time voter, Michael Young, 20, came to the polling place with his mother, who is a Precinct 75 resident.

The mother and son both voted for Obama, Young said, citing the need for change in Washington as the main reason for their choice.

Young said his family has a tradition of going to the polls together whenever possible.

"I was really excited about this election," Young said. "This is history in the making."

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