NEW YORK ― When Lara, 47, set out to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, on Tuesday morning, she put on her dark grey “Nasty Woman” T-shirt, and brought along her three school-age kids. It was important to her that they be there and understand the historic significance of this particular election.
“We’ve talked about the fact that older generations have never been able to vote for a woman president ― we talked about it last night,” said Lara, while her daughter hopped excitedly next to her, an “I Voted” sticker stuck to her chest. “They’re young enough that they’ll never remember when a woman wasn’t president. That’s so cool.”
At the polls near Clinton’s campaign headquarters on Tuesday morning, women of all ages expressed varied reasons for why they’d come out to vote. Yet one theme was nearly universal: How emotional it felt in the moment they voted for another woman to hold this nation’s highest office.
“I just voted for Hillary f*cking Clinton!” said Leah, 33, who was out in Red Hook, Brooklyn, voting with her husband. “It felt so good,” she continued, choking up. “I’m really hoping that I just helped elect the first woman president.”
“It was emotional,” echoed Margarita, 67, also in Red Hook, who laughed that she was so overcome, she first filled in the wrong bubble on her ballot and had to ask for another. “I never thought I would vote for a woman.”
“When I was a kid, I always said that I wanted to be the first woman president,” said Renee, 33, also in Red Hook. “Then yesterday I was like, ‘It’s OK! I don’t have to be!’”
Several women expressed surprise at how overwhelmingly relieved they felt to finally step into a voting booth after a long, ugly campaign marked by so much misogynistic rhetoric.
“It was really surprising how emotional I felt,” Johnna, 28, a onetime Bernie Sanders supporter who wore a grey Hillary Clinton T-shirt to her Red Hook polling station and who also began to tear up as she spoke. “But I guess the whole election has been really depressing, so it makes sense it would feel like a relief for the day to be here.”
After voting Megan, 38, also felt like a knot in her stomach could finally begin to unwind.
“The whole election has felt like such a joke, until it became real, like, Donald Trump is running for president ... We’ve come so far, but yet misogyny is alive and well,” she said. “I felt really relieved when I could vote today, and so happy that the day is here and that we can move on...hopefully.”
Kenya, 43, who was out voting with her daughter Tanayah,19, said she didn’t feel particularly emotional, but her daughter ― who was voting in her first presidential election ― did. “Obama was the first black president, and she is going to be our first woman president,” Tanayah said. “Back-to-back. Two historic elections.”
But other women, like Sascha, 38, said they definitely felt emotional and acutely aware that they were casting a vote for their children’s future.
“It felt awesome,” Sascha said of voting for Clinton.
“It’s really important to me that he grows up in place where there’s gender equality, and equal pay, and respect for women and women’s rights,” she continued, motioning toward her 5-month-old baby boy who was strapped to her husband’s chest. “Go Hillary!”