GREELEY, Colo.- In Weld County, the clock hit 7:15 in the evening when results of the midterm elections first started to make the airwaves.
Zoe’s Cafe buzzed with anticipation as the patrons awaited the results. The coffee house was filled with University of Northern Colorado students. As the first results hit, conversation picked up around the room. A mix of excitement and concern spread across the faces of the customers. The smell of hot coffee and food provided a warm setting for election night.
Among the crowd, Elias Valderama is a first-year software engineering major at UNC. As a first-time voter in Weld County, Valderama had a bit of confusion surrounding the anticipation.
“Being a first-time voter made me nervous, especially seeing all the different issues that were presented in the ballot,” Valderama said.
He also recalls not being fully informed at first about the issues that were presented on the ballot for the midterm elections.
“I do not truly follow the updates on the current issues that arise from the ballot. I was too busy keeping up with school and work to get a chance to study the ballot,” Valderama said.
Many students there were first-time voters, and this feeling of confusion and ill-preparedness was a trend at the cafe. They say they feel like voting resources are few and far between. For Valderama, his family members were important in providing information about the issues that stood on the ballot.
“They played a great role in helping me become more aware of the issues that were on the ballot. Without my family’s help, I would still be lost in the information about the issues on the ballot for the election.” Valderama said.
Family and friends can be considered a reliable source of information for many students that are first-time voters. Other resources for voters to make informed decisions are poll workers and local city government offices. It helps them understand what is at stake for Weld County and the state of Colorado in general.
Students throughout the cafe were waiting for certain issues on the ballot to go through for the results. As more results rolled in, excitement filled the air. The students eagerly awaited the results of Proposition 122, the legalization of psychedelic plants and fungi. Although this might not seem like the most important issue on the ballot to some. To the students of UNC, this is the proposition that got them excited to vote.
Third-year student Allison Leyh said this was her second time voting but the first time she felt excited to go to the polls.
“I voted last year but like to be honest I didn’t know what I was doing. This year I felt so much more confident and I was excited to vote on things that affect me and are like interesting to me. All of my friends and I are excited about the prop that could legalize shrooms. I think that could be really cool,” Leyh said.
Along with Proposition 122 students were also waiting intently for the results of Jared Polis versus Heidi Ganahl. Polis promised to protect the right to abortion while Ganahl was intent on reversing that protection. This was also a big motivator for young voters to get out and make their voices heard.
Third-year student Kaya Lindberg wanted to make her voice heard not only for herself but for everyone around her.
“I voted because there are current issues that are important not only to myself but the communities I’m a part of. I want to protect my rights not only as a woman but also as a human being. Everyone’s voice matters,” Lindberg said.
As the night came to an end students slowly shuffled out, and the café grew quieter. But one thing that was not quiet was the voices of the many students who showed up for their community in this midterm election.