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Local Mid-South Millennials and Generation Z voters headed to the polls to cast ballots for the first time

Local 24 talked to some local first-time voters to find out why they are heading to the polls.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — As the presidential election fast approaches, interest is building over the impact Millennials and Generation z voters could have on the presidential race especially young Black students. Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin reached out to those voters, mostly college students in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. In their own words, here's why these young folks are indeed headed to the polls.

"I'm voting because I want to see my values represented in the elected officials that are in Congress and in the presidential office as well as to conserve our democracy moving forward," said First-time Presidential Voter McKennley Wilson.

"Voting is a way that our voices can be heard.  It's the way that we can see change that we want to see.  Voting not only affects our generation, but it also affects the generations to come after us -- so it's very important to get out and vote and let our voices be heard," said First-time Presidential Voter Lauren King.

"It gives us a chance to use our voice that people have been trying to silence for years. We have the chance to change the current state of America," said First-time Presidential Voter Kendall Wilson.

"My voice matters and so does yours. Go vote," said said First-time Presidential Voter Cameron Temple.

"I'm voting in this upcoming election because I feel like the world we live in needs a change, and I want to be that change by making my voice heard," said First-time Presidential Voter Cameron Shaffer.

"I believe that my ancestors, the people who fought for people like myself to vote would be very upset and very ashamed if I didn't take this opportunity very seriously.  So remember no what your  political stance is -- voting is so very important and critical," said said First-time Presidential Voter Andre Lacy.

"As a millennial, I'm voting because racial justice is on the ballot.  Me, personally, I have a younger brother and it truly frightens me and saddens me that the United States and the police will not protect him but instead harm him," said First-time Presidential Voter Tayonna Smith.

"As a millennial, I am voting because I believe in racial justice and equality," said First-time Presidential Voter Veonia Smith.  "Within the early months of 2020, we have lost so many innocent souls: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the list continues.  Even today in October of 2020, these situations have still not been handled properly in the eyes of several Americans."

"To be able to go out and vote and let our voices be heard so it will affect the next generation and the generation after that is a privilege.  It's an honor," said First-time Presidential Voter Niceau Coleman.

"I want to participate in voting mostly because I feel like not voting is giving up your voice.  Our ancestors fought so hard for us to even be able to vote, so I feel like it's a privilege we shouldn't take for granted," said First-time Presidential Voter De'Areria Flowers.

"This is our opportunity to make change in our state and our nation for a greater good," said First-time Presidential Voter Kennedi Cooper.

"It's very important for me to go out there and express my voice loudly, and now that I'm finally able to be at the forefront of change, I can't help but to jump at the opportunity.  So, with that being said, I encourage everyone to get up and go vote.  Exercise that right as citizens," said First-time Presidential Voter Matthew Carter.

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