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Voters cite civic duty, social change as catalyst for primary election participation

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I Voted Sticker

I voted sticker on Nov. 2.

Norman voters headed to the polls Tuesday to nominate party candidates for the November general election, which will decide representatives locally and nationally. Participants in this election agreed voting on all levels is important to democracy and were armed with knowledge about candidates’ stances on several issue of national interest. 

Stephanie Pilat, director of the Division of Architecture in the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture, said she voted in the Tuesday primary because it’s her civic duty, but specifically to vote for senate candidate Madison Horn, noting one of her deciding factors was Horn’s support of abortion rights. 

“It would be amazing to have a woman (in the Senate),” Pilat said. “I looked at her website. She’s pretty moderate, but she did come out after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in favor of women’s rights over their own bodies.”

Pilat said for everyone in Oklahoma, and particularly for OU undergraduate students, elected officials have “so much control” over their lives, adding if students wanted changes in how much state funds went into their university to ease their financial burdens, voting is extremely important. 

Graduate teaching assistant Shannon Wiser said reproductive rights, gun reform and what else “happened this week” remained on her mind as she headed to the polls. 

Amelia Andre, a local real estate agent, said Joy Hofmeister inspired her to vote in the primary. Andre cited frustration with the state’s current leadership, explaining that she respected the way Hofmeister acted in her role as the state superintendent of public instruction.

"I don't like Stitt," Andre said. "I want (Hofmeister) to be governor, not him."

One voter, who wished to remain anonymous, said she has voted in every election, whether primary or general, since she was 18 years old. She added that she wants to “get our country back on track.” She also agreed with her fellow citizens in saying voting is her civic duty. 

Emma Kuster, a senior researcher at the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, and Charles Kuster, a research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations, said they try to vote in all elections, especially local ones. 

“We think it’s important to vote in every election primaries and in the more well-known ones as well,” Charles said. “Participating in democracy is important, even if it doesn’t feel like it is sometimes. Voting is really going to … for sure (show how) important (it is) that your voice gets heard and this is one way to do that.”

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