By Nick Reagan | October 5, 2020 at 9:16 PM EDT - Updated October 5 at 9:16 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Voting for the next president of the United States of America is officially underway with the first in-person absentee ballots cast on Monday.
Around the country, officials are seeing huge demand for voting before election day. Charleston County election officials expect a record number this year with more than 800 ballots cast in the first day alone.
While many people are voting absentee for the first time, others are simply voting for the first time. Dee Brown is one of those people falling into the latter category.
“I never took the time out to vote but for some reason I feel like I need to vote this year,” Brown said. “What we went through this year. . . we need a change.”
Brown attended the Black Voters Matter’s ‘We Got The Power’ bus tour with his young cousin on Monday where he was able to register for an absentee ballot. He says he his vote is important for the next generation.
Black Voters Matter is an organization helping people realize their power to vote by providing the tools needed participate in the election process.
“And every now and again we travel around in the blackest bus in America and we create a little bit of excitement,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter. He is referencing the large bus wrapped in dark branding and logos that say things like “We Got The Power."
“Black communities big and small have often been given the message that their votes don’t matter. So it’s more than just a bus,” Albright said. “To them it’s a symbol reaffirming the fact that they matter as people and that they matter as voters.”
Albright says they are a non-partisan group but admits that some issues inherently lend themselves to one party or another.
“For example, we talk about voter suppression. It’s one party that is doing most of the suppressing, most of the gerrymandering, that’s actually suing in states to keep states from opening up the vote by mail,” Albright said. “But when we go around in our bus, we are really just trying to get people excited and to inform them and let them know that they have power.”
Black or white, many voters are not excited at all, especially younger people who feel neither presidential option reflects their interests. Brandon Holt will be voting for the first time this year and says he wishes there was a third option that had a realistic chance of winning.
“Hearing the debate last week, it was two old men arguing with tunnel vision,” Holt said, suggesting neither would move from their platforms to adopt ideas from the youngest of voters. “With everything going on I feel like we need a different person with a different mindset in charge. . . something needs to change.”
With Holt was 17-year-old Allyson Chinn. She says this is one of the most important decision the nation will make that will inevitably affect the formation of her adult life and she does not get a say in that decision.
“It’s so frustrating,” Chinn said. “People my age, our voices aren’t heard just yet, but we are so close. We have to wait four more year and by then I’ll be in my 20s.”
Those who are legally allowed to vote will be able to do so via in-person absentee ballots up until election day on Nov. 3.
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