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Gen Z Photographers Capture the Joy and Anxiety of First-Time Voters

Photographers and first-time voters are sparking conversations about the importance of voting via portraits of their friends, all of whom are also casting ballots for the first time….

Quannah ChasingHorse Potts, Fairbanks, Alaska

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Photo: Rodney Evans

“I am so excited to cast my ballot for the first time and have my Indigenous vote counted,” says the 18-year-old photographer and Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota tribe member, adding, “It’s critical that we all vote! Our future depends on us voting for equal justice, climate justice, and environmental justice and to ensure our democracy is protected for the seven generations and beyond. I hope to inspire more people of my generation to cast their ballot and ensure their voice is heard. I am voting my Indigenous values.”

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Trenity Washington, 18, Benhti Kokhtana and Inupiaq tribes

“Being young, Black, and Indigenous, my vote is important and counts. My vote is based on my traditional values. I am voting to defend sacred lands and equal justice for all. Carrying on my culture and empowering others to use their voice is important to me. My Indigenous vote matters.”

Photographed by Trenity Washington

Daveed Baptiste, Brooklyn

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Photographed by Daveed Baptiste

“My family and I have worked hard in pursuit of the American dream,” says the 23-year-old child of Haitian immigrants. “There is still a piece of me that still believes in that dream, and that is why I am voting. My polling place is literally across the street from my apartment. It’s a blessing.”

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Yetunde Sapp, 21

“Neither of the candidates aligns with what we’ve been fighting for all summer. The system itself needs to change—but that will be a longer fight, and in the meantime, I will be traveling four hours by bus to make sure that anyone but that orange man makes it into office.”

Photographed by Daveed Baptiste

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Khalid Mousa, 19

“Voting, to me, is just a small part that I can do as a second-generation immigrant. My participation is to make my voice heard but also the voice of so many who can’t vote. The fact that I have the option to vote is a privilege and a privilege I don’t take lightly.”

Photographed by Daveed Baptiste

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Rood Exilas, 25

“Just so we’re clear: I am no longer just a bad bitch. I am now a bad bitch who voted early, my first time, and it felt great.”

Photographed by Daveed Baptiste

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