The Norman Mayer branch of the New Orleans Public Library got a taste of Dillard University community awareness as students showed up in record numbers to vote. What students found however, was a facility that was not prepared for the turnout, which made the voting experience, — a first for many, frustrating.
Senior Cameron Sapp, a mass communications major, felt it was a trying ordeal to vote because he was told it would be an easy process and it was not.
"I was frustrated because I wound up missing class trying to vote thinking it was going to be a quick process and it wasn’t," Sapp said.
Sapp was not the only Dillard student to feel disenfranchised during the voting process. Some students got the impression that they were not wanted at the polls.
"They don’t want young people to vote," sophomore, pre-physical therapy major, Jamecia Jones said. "They should have polls on campus instead, and they should have fixed the air conditioning."
Heat and humidity did play a factor in student frustration.
"I stood in line for an hour and 15 minutes, but people were there from about 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon," Sapp said. "It was very hectic, very hot and very humid."
Julie Andrews, commissioner-in-charge of Precinct 25, Ward 7, felt that students prolonged the process by not coming to the polls ready to vote.
"The students had not read the ballot or bill of rights before coming to the polls and were not prepared," Andrews said.
Over 300,000 new voters were added to Orleans parish, which added to the line of voters that wrapped around the corner. The library served as the polling place for precincts 24 and 25, which created confusion for members of the community who had no affiliation with Dillard, but the majority of the confusion arose from the elderly volunteers at the voting stations.
"At first we thought it was just too many people, but it was really [the elderly volunteers] that were taking to long," Francis Adesina, freshman mass communications major, said.
Junior Biology major, Lakeshia Stafford, agreed with Adesina’s sentiment.
"The people who were working the polls frustrated me," Stafford said. "The ladies were arguing at times, and sometimes they were chomping on chicken. They need to have trained professionals working the polls."
"It was kind of unorganized," Sapp said.
Despite the lack of organization, heat and humidity, some voters felt it was still a positive sign to see young voters turn out to the polls.
Adjunct professor of Personal Wealth and Risk Management, Lynn Cawthorne, felt the turnout showed a commitment for today’s generation to make their way of life better by voting.
"It’s always encouraging to see [young people] voting," Cawthorne said. "It lets me know that they’re concerned about their futures, and want to be stakeholders of this country."
With all of the rallies and campaigns pushing young adults to vote, students wonder if their vote mattered with the incumbent president winning again. Some students even felt that they spent several hours voting for nothing.
"They told us that our votes would count, but they didn’t count," senior Ashanti Henderson, mass communications major said.