These are the faces of first-time voters

Teslyn Nicole De Leon, 18, felt an “absolute thrill” while casting her ballot early in Texas recently. But what made the moment even more memorable for this first-time voter, she shared on Instagram and elaborated on for Yahoo Life, was that she went with another, very special, first-time voter: her grandmother. 

“My grandmother legally immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines with two suitcases and $20 and built the family that I so proudly love,” De Leon, a student at the University of Texas, captioned the recent photo of them together. “I can’t thank her enough for the life she has given me.”

While De Leon was motivated to hit the polls by her “civic duty” and “incredulous excitement” over finally being of voting age, her grandmother, she tells Yahoo Life, “hadn’t voted because she had never felt knowledgeable enough to vote, because she hadn’t spoken much English and because she is a native Filipina. This year, she felt compelled by her extensive knowledge… She knew exactly how she felt and knew it was time to vote.”

De Leon and her grandmother are far from alone: With nearly half of U.S. states offering early voting in the 2020 general election, social media has been bursting with images of people on long lines and at ballot boxes for at least a week now. And many of the posts are from first-time voters, casting their ballots at what looks to be very high rates — and according, at least, to TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, which cites evidence of a “first-time voter surge.”

Instagram’s “first-time voter” hashtag brings up an endless scroll of proud voters, of all ages, some posted by parents or children or spouses of the first-timers.

“My mom immigrated from Colombia in the early ‘80s when she was 15. She became a citizen at that time, but throughout the years, she never felt compelled to vote,” Libia Marqueza Castro tells Yahoo Life about her Instagram post of her mom as a first-time voter. “Politics were pretty far removed from her lived experience. This year, however, she’s been paying extra attention because of COVID (she’s an elementary school teacher) … and one day she texted me that she had enough of the tontería (ridiculousness)… she feels like she’s actually doing something to change what she’s seeing unfold on TV, especially since she lives in Texas.”

“I always thought it was an insignificant process, but after using my rights to vote, I feel so empowered, motivated, and beyond blessed. I know, corny right,” wrote Georgia teen Fadlyna about going to vote for the first time with her mother, a breast cancer survivor. “But it does feel like you made an impact when you do something you are only able to do when you grow up.”

A woman who says she immigrated from Jamaica posted about voting for the first time since becoming a naturalized citizen in 2014. “I honestly was nervous about it and putting it off,” she shared. “I

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Mid Michigan College asking voters in Gratiot, Isabella counties to join its district

HARRISON, MI – Mid Michigan College, a community college serving in Clare and Gladwin counties, is looking to formally expand its tax base and local service area by adding Gratiot and Isabella counties to its district.

Voters in Gratiot and Isabella will decide two proposals on the Nov. 3 election ballot.

The first proposal would annex any residents within the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District that aren’t already part of the college’s district. The second proposal would set a millage rate of 1.2232 mills, or $1.22 per $1,000 of taxable property value. This would grant the college about $3.1 million in yearly revenue, and it plans to use about half of that income to cut tuition for local students, according to a news release. Those from the college’s expanded district would see tuition reduced by roughly 40%, saving a full-time student more than $2,100 a year. Both of the proposals have to pass to take effect.

More than 1,100 students from the two counties make up about 35% of the college’s fall 2020 enrollment, eclipsing 26% from Clare and Gladwin counties. More than 380 high school students from Isabella and Gratiot are dual-enrolled at the college, according to the release.

“Students from Isabella and Gratiot counties have historically accounted for a large percentage of our enrollment,” said Scott Mertes, vice president of Community Outreach, in the release. “Many students attend Mid during high school and then continue pursuing their degree with us when they graduate… Those students then move on from Mid and work for local employers or transfer to the university of their choice to continue their education.”

The college claims it brings more than $69 million in annual economic impact. The Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the proposals, according to the release.

“We are committed to Isabella and Gratiot counties,” Mertes said in the release. “If the ballot measures pass, the college will have a more stable funding model that will allow us to reduce tuition, support local businesses, and help students succeed.”

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More Voters Want Popular Vote, Not Electoral College, to Decide President: Poll

A plurality of American voters believe the winner of the popular vote, rather than the electoral college, should win the presidential election, according to a new poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek.



a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, stand on stage following the conclusion of the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The electoral college will determine who wins the election.


© Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images
First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, stand on stage following the conclusion of the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The electoral college will determine who wins the election.

The poll shows 49 percent of registered voters want the candidate who wins the national popular vote to win the White House. Just 27 percent think the winner of the electoral college should become president, while 23 percent said they don’t know.

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The poll was conducted on October 17 and 18 among 3,150 registered voters and the margin of error was 1.75 percent. A majority of respondents in all age groups believe that the winner of the popular vote should win the election.

However, there was a sharp contrast in responses from supporters of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Among those who voted for Trump in 2016, just 32 percent believed the popular vote should determine who wins the presidency, while 49 percent opted for the electoral college.

The split among 2020 Trump voters was almost identical, with 31 percent choosing the popular vote and 48 percent the electoral college.

Sixty-eight percent of voters who voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 said the popular vote should decide the president, as did 69 percent of respondents who said they would vote for Biden or had already done so. Just 15 percent of Biden voters thought the electoral college should decide, with 17 percent answering “Don’t Know.”

Trump won the White House in 2016 despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. His narrow victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin secured his election.

Fifty-one percent of those who did not identify as either Clinton or Trump voters supported the popular vote result deciding the president, along with 45 percent of those who didn’t vote in 2016.

A plurality of voters who say they won’t vote for either Trump or Biden this year also said the popular vote should determine the next president, including 43 percent of those supporting Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson, 43 percent supporting the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and 49 percent who said they’ll vote for another third party or a write-in candidate.

However, 55% of those who said they didn’t know who they would vote for also said they didn’t know if the electoral college or the popular vote should determine the winner, as did 46 percent of those who said they wouldn’t vote.

A presidential candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win. A

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Leading Scientists Urge Voters to Dump Trump

Science has long considered itself to be an apolitical enterprise. But in the midst of a global pandemic and with the 2020 election looming, some scientific institutions and elite journals have suddenly become willing to take a political stance against President Donald Trump and his allies.

On October 8, for instance, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) jumped into the fray for the first time in 208 years with an unprecedented political editorial calling for leadership change. Although it stopped short of endorsing Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the article labeled people running the current administration “dangerously incompetent” and added that “we should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans [from COVID-19] by allowing them to keep their jobs.” This week the journal Nature added similar sentiments in an editorial that did endorse Biden and called Trump’s record “shameful.” A month earlier 81 U.S. Nobel laureates signed an open letter that expressed their Biden support. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they wrote.

And the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine—a pair of notoriously cautious and conventional institutions—issued a statement in late September denouncing political interference in public health agencies, particularly the Trump administration’s efforts to rush the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine before tests for safety and effectiveness are completed. “Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated,” they wrote. “We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming.”

Sociologists say the scientific establishment seems to be making a switch from a long-held condemnation of political interference in science to actually condemning a politician. “In some ways, this is the last stand,” says Dana Fisher, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park. “They have to stand up, at this point, for science because science and its role in society is threatened right now.” Scientific leaders contend that Trump is uniquely unfit for the presidency and has harmed science to an unprecedented degree. But some social scientists worry that aligning the research enterprise with a political party could ultimately backfire, politicizing science beyond repair.

Speaking out against antiscience policies has long been the domain of advocacy groups such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and others. In 2017, for instance, several such organizations backed the March for Science in Washington, D.C., which was sparked by concerns about the incoming Trump administration’s seeming disregard for evidence-based policies that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Although journals and institutions such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine largely stayed out of the debate, “all of the ingredients were there for a showdown at some point,” says political scientist Matthew Motta of Oklahoma State University.

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Constitutional amendments on gender language, taxes for education before Utah voters

The state of Utah is set to vote on seven proposed Constitutional ballot amendments in November, on issues including how education is funded and modernizing language around gender.

Here is a breakdown of each one by the Utah Foundation, a non-profit organization, as part of its “On the Ballot” analysis project.

Four of the following seven amendments were the result of resolutions supported unanimously on the state house and senate floors, the Foundation’s webpage reads.

“One was unanimous when it was heard in the Senate, but when it went to the House it faced nearly enough opposition to kill the resolution,” the message continued. “The final two amendments faced more opposition.”

AMENDMENT A: CHANGE LANGUAGE THAT APPLIES TO A SINGLE GENDER

This amendment would change the language that applies to a single gender, meaning it would replace “men” with “persons” in the state Constitution and make other similar changes to reflect the measure if passed. 

The Utah Constitution still refers to legislators with male pronouns, but this reversal wouldn’t be the only change. It would also alter several other terms. Husband or wife would be replaced with a spouse; he replaced with [legislative] member, and; men replaced with persons.

AMENDMENT B: LEGISLATOR AGE REQUIREMENT

Amendment B would clarify the language in the state Constitution about the eligibility qualifications required to be elected, or appointed, to the state House and state Senate.

The requirements — that the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, at least 25 years old and a voter in the relevant district —  would remain the same.

Instead, the measure would specify that the requirements must be met at the time of election or appointment. 

AMENDMENT C: REMOVE SLAVERY AS PUNISHMENT FOR A CRIME

This amendment would repeal a provision in the Utah Constitution allowing for slavery and involuntary servitude as a form of criminal punishment.

Twelve states (including Utah) contain provisions in their constitutions allowing slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment, according to the Foundation. 

There is reportedly no formal opposition to this amendment.

AMENDMENT D: MUNICIPAL WATER RESOURCES

This proposed amendment would allow cities to supply water to neighboring communities, individual consumers, and others outside of city limits.

Article XI, Section 6 of the state Constitution does not explicitly allow cities to sell water outside of their boundaries.

Some municipal water utilities, however, have still supplied areas outside their jurisdiction for years. 

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AMENDMENT E: RIGHT TO HUNT AND FISH

Amendment E would guarantee the right to hunt and fish in the state Constitution.

Utah regulations would still apply, but the move would require hunting and fishing to be the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” 

Twenty-two states have adopted the right to hunt and fish.

“This Constitutional amendment would likely result in little change from the status quo,” the website read. “Hunting and fishing will still be regulated by the state and the amendment will not infringe on property law or

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