Galileo seniors take to the poll for the Nov. 8 election

Joshua Gaites, Staff Writer

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On Nov. 8, America went to the polls to elect their next president and several Galileo seniors exercised their right to vote for the first time. 

“I have always been taught that voting was important and a privileged that I have and we all have so I went out and voted,” Senior Hannah Breen said. “People have worked really hard for women to vote and have a say in their government and it is important that I have a say in mine.”

On the Danville-Pittsylvania County ballot citizens could vote on two different races. The first one is the general election for president and vice president which included Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullin for president and Tim Kaine, Michael R. Pence, Bill Weld, Ajamu Baraka, and Nathan Johnson for vice president. The second race was to choose a member of the House of Representatives for the Fifth Congressional District. Candidates included Jane D. Dittmar and Tom A. Garrett, Jr.

Two proposed constitutional amendments which also included on the ballot, the first asking if Article I of the Constitution of Virginia should be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization and a second asking if the Constitution of Virginia should be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried with only the second amendment passing.

In Virginia alone, by popular vote, Hillary Clinton won with 1,961,142 votes from 2557 precincts. Donald Trump followed with 1,762,382 votes. Then came Gary Johnson with 118,098, Jill Stein with 27,679, Evan McMullin with 53,769, and write-ins with 31,107 votes.

According to the Pittsylvania County government Web site Trump won the area with 21,542 votes while Clinton had 9,195 votes, Johnson had 442, Stein had 106, McMullin had 202, and write-ins had 95 votes. Pittsylvania County has 30 voting precincts.

In Danville Clinton had 11,051 votes, Trump had 7,296, Johnson had 15, Stein had 73, McMullin  had 117, and write-ins had 73 votes.

“My voting experience was pleasant. The worst part was the walk in the cold from the parking lot,” Biology Teacher Wyatt Carter said. “I waited less than 10 minutes to vote. Lines in Danville are typically short due to the fact that most people here do not vote. The other people in line and the poll workers were all respectful.”

According to CNN, voter turnout in 2016 was at a 20-year low, though many Virginians went out of their way to have their voice heard with more than 616,832 absentee ballots cast.

“I voted at 7:15 a.m., so I had to wait about 15 minutes, then everything was fine,” English Teacher Wanda Fields said. “The people at the polls and while we waited to vote were very congenial.  No one said anything unpleasant at all.”

With the 2016 election debated heavily on social media tension was high in preparation for the final verdict.

“I disliked all of the “dragging in the mud” by both candidates before the election though. There is a civilized way to conduct a campaign, but the way these candidates on both sides conducted their campaigns were totally uncivilized,” Fields said. “My decision was much the same throughout the campaign.  To tell the truth, I had trepidation about both candidates because of all the rancor and sniping on both sides.”

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Galileo seniors take to the poll for the Nov. 8 election