Teachers reflect on their first voting experience

Sr. Stewart voted in 1968; Ms. Griffith did so four years ago


Callie Helm

Sr. Mary Mary Ann Stewart prepares for her next social studies class in the library.

Luke Hern , Reporter

With Election Day over, the votes still being counted and the result of the presidential contest still in flux, two teachers recalled casting their first vote for President.

Ms. Allie Griffith, English teacher and women’s cross-country head coach, shared her perspective to show how her first voting experience back in 2016 went, while Sr. Mary Ann Stewart told the story about what was going on around the time she first voted in 1968.

“I first voted as a senior at Notre Dame in 2016 via absentee in Ohio,” Griffith wrote in an email.

As many students reflect on their experiences with presidential elections, whether in 2008, 2012 or 2016, many people skip going to bed early and choose to stick around and see where the future of their country may lie. “I’ll never forget the night I stayed up watching the (2016) results come in with my best friend, Hannah, in our dorm room We were in absolute shock.”

As many remember, the 2016 election was a monumental time. Griffith recalled many professors cancelling classes, and students mostly keeping to themselves regardless of who they voted for, after the shock of such a heavily impactful election.

While this has been known, it should be expected that whoever is chosen, there will undoubtedly be pushback, and like 2016, surprise after what has been an emotionally draining political experience. How the nation will choose to react, just like it did four years ago, remains to be seen.

Sr. Stewart, on the other hand, first voted in 1968, and actually registered on the day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. “I was a junior at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, and we voted in St. Mary-of-the-Woods village just outside the west gates of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College,” Stewart recalled in an email, noting that while 21 was the voting age back then, she was to turn 21 before the general election, which allowed her to vote in the May primary.

Sen. Robert Kennedy, a major candidate in 1968, is who Stewart remembers that most of the sisters at St. Mary-of-the-Woods supported. “I was devastated, as were many of the young sisters I was living with,” Sister described upon hearing about his assassination.

Sr. Stewart remembers standing in a long line only once, when, as she said, “They decided to put several precincts in the same room at Nora Elementary.” When Sr. Stewart voted this year in Washington Township, she said there was no line.