It’s been 576 days since Hillary Clinton announced her 2016 presidential bid. “Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” she said in a video message seen and heard round the world.
And it’s been 103 days since she accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she declared to a rapt audience.
Now Election Day is finally upon us—and we hope, like Hill, you’re rocking your best pantsuit. Polling stations opened statewide at 6 a.m. today and will close at 7 p.m., as U.S. voters cast ballots for the president, senate and governor.
On this historic day, FLARE found out what it meant for people across the U.S. to vote for the first woman president. This list will be updated as voting day continues…
“I spent my entire life being told I should marry a rich doctor, and that my worth would be based on the accomplishments of the men I aligned myself with, not on any possibility of me being a success. For me, voting for Hillary was a physical statement of me representing more than my physical body.” —Chrissy, Arizona
“I voted early this year because I honestly could not wait to get to the polls and exercise this sacred right. The first president that I was old enough to vote for was President Barack Obama; casting my vote for him in 2008 and 2012 was nothing short of an honour. I am humbled again this year by the opportunity to vote for someone who makes me feel proud of my country and hopeful for the future. Hillary Clinton’s intelligence, grace under pressure, and perseverance not only remind me of the brilliant, beautiful teachers, mentors, family members and friends in my life who have shaped me, but also reassure me that she is the most competent candidate for presidency in 2016. When I started teaching third grade students in 2010, I couldn’t wait to laminate President Barack Obama’s photo and put it up in our classroom because President Obama, without question, is a role model for our kids. By voting for Hillary Clinton this year, I felt like I did my part to ensure that kids across the nation get to see another true role model in the White House, and perhaps also in a laminated photo on their classroom walls.” —Kate, California
“I grew up the daughter of an incredible woman. Always the first person awake in our house, my mom made sure everyone else was up, fed and dressed, before driving us to school and then working all day. She picked us up after school, chauffeured us to all manner of after-school activities, made dinner and helped with homework until late at night. She quizzed me before tests and made cookies for school bake sales, and she supported me wholeheartedly when I wanted to attend an all-girls’ school. I’m voting for Hillary because, like millions of other daughters all over the world, I have a feeling Chelsea would say similar things about her mother. I’m with her because Hillary is a real woman; a real PERSON. And the kind of person I trust wholeheartedly to represent me and my country on the world stage.” —Julia, California
“A vote for Hillary gives our future daughters the option to dream big enough to lead our country; this single election is Armstrong’s first step on the moon. And we, the voters, are lucky enough to know we helped get her there.” —Tanya, California (organizer for Iowa Democratic Party)
“As my baby daughter slept I completed my ballot. As I pressed the seal down I found myself tearful. I just voted for a woman to lead my country. A fierce, flawed, resilient, whole person who earned my vote through her experience and expertise. I’m so grateful for the path she has pounded out. When my baby starts saying what she wants to be when she grows up, I’ll believe a little more that her gender won’t limit her prospects. For my daughter, for her future, thank you for pressing on, Hillary.” —Catherine, California
“I am a woman; I was raised exclusively by women; I live on a planet where women’s rights come second; and on some level, I’ve been taught that my whole family—my whole existence, really—is not quite enough. Voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton, and seeing a shift in our nation’s history, touches a core emotion for me. In some ways it feels like a vote for my mom, a vote for her best friend, a vote for my best friend and even a vote for myself.” —Alix, California
“I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she is the most qualified, better educated, more experienced, more thoughtful, more knowledgeable candidate. For 30+ years she has demonstrated a commitment to the well-being of all Americans. She does not discriminate against age, race, class, gender or sexual orientation, but rather has worked hard to build a better world for us all. She not only acknowledges climate change, but has a plan to tackle it. This election will affect generations to come and define what our country stands for and who we are. This vote will define what kind of world my children will one day live in. #IMWITHHER” —Perri, California
“I’ve spoken with hundreds of people recently from all over the world about this election. Everyone thinks different things and understands American politics in varied ways, but through it all, I have come to realize how lucky I am—especially while living abroad in a country where it is not the case—to have a say in the future of my home, even if the power can sometimes feel small. Everyone across the globe is watching this election and it’s up to those of us who have the chance to make a statement by casting a vote. The chance to vote for Hillary means an opportunity to support someone that I can truly look up to and who I am confident will always do what she thinks is right for our country. I think that is what it’s all about—trust. Additionally, I am currently in a male-dominated society where the idea of a female having such power is quite unimaginable. Every day I experience small inequalities by virtue of being a woman, and most of the time I have to bite my tongue when I know if I was back at home I would loudly speak my mind. So in some small way, being able to vote for a woman who will consequently become one—if not the most—influential people in the world is my own way of fighting the circumstances and pushing back against the inequalities I currently find myself in.” —Megan, California, who voted abroad from the Maldives
“A big step for Hillary, but a giant step for women everywhere. It’s about time the U.S. caught up with the rest of the world. I am excited and so, so proud to be voting for a woman president and to be a part of making history!” —Simonette, California
“I’m voting for Hilary because I don’t want to watch the world burn. To me, voting for Hilary is voting for a more peaceful world for my daughter. Many Americans are fed up with politicians who are not being held accountable. Many question how the Clintons could gain such a massive amount of wealth in politics. I have these same questions but I do know that Hilary is experienced, has a clear understanding of foreign affairs, and can pave a path that is more hopeful than Donald Trump.” —Colin, California
“Voting for Hillary will be a privilege. While I voted for Bernie in the primary, I have really come around to the Hillary camp. She’s far more progressive than I gave her credit for, and now I’m excited to see a woman so eminently qualified take the presidency.” —Jacob, California
“Since I’m working in Australia right now, I made sure to register for an overseas ballot months and months ago. What’s surprised me is just how anxious Australians are about this election too. Some of my Aussie friends have followed every twist and turn even more closely than me. I know I’m gonna be ready for a serious drink by the time we expect to hear the results here Wednesday afternoon (either to celebrate the triumph of justice over bigotry, or to contemplate the end of days) and I’ve had a remarkably easy time finding drinking companions. Everyone is in need of catharsis.” —Cole, Colorado
“I’m confident plenty of others have said something to the same effect more eloquently than I can, but here’s my story: I grew up in the ’90s being told I could be anything when I grew up, but I knew becoming President of the United States was the exception. I distinctly remember thinking this. I teared up when I first voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary, and every time I’ve thought about what I hope to see tomorrow night ever since then. At a rally here in Fort Collins the other day, a Colorado politician said he hopes in eight years, when his son will be 13 and have only known a President Hillary Rodham Clinton, he’ll ask: “Can boys grow up to be President too?” And of course the answer will be yes, ANYONE can!” —Alana, Colorado
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
“I am just so pleased that a qualified woman has persevered against so many obstacles and countered so much anger and vitriol with dignity. The double standard has never been more apparent than when I look at all of the challenges Hillary has come against compared to her challengers, starting when she was First Lady and proceeding through the Senate and State Department.” —Name Withheld, Washington, D.C.
“In ’08 when Obama was elected I remember walking down a street on the south side of Chicago. I saw an African American woman watching the election coverage through a shop window. She just stood there with tears streaming down her face. It struck me what it must mean for her —how many times had she thought she’d never see a black president in her lifetime? I thought about that moment a lot when I voted for Hillary Clinton. I thought about the women in my life—how many times did they think they’d never see a female president? We have all of these ideas about what women should be. In reality, women are half of the population, as varied and multitudinous as men. It’s about time a woman represented us in the White House.” —Rafi, Illinois
“I have not cast my vote as of this very moment, but I find myself eagerly anticipating the opening of the polls here in Louisiana at 6 a.m. I could have voted early—I always knew Hillary would be my ultimate choice—but there is something about ‘Election Day’ that feels pretty significant to me. I didn’t want what I was about to do to get lost on the randomness of any early voting day. I wanted to be able to recall that on this day, November 8, 2016, I cast my vote for the first female president of the United States of America. I want it to be a day that I would remember from here on out, like a birthday, graduation, or anniversary. I know this day would forever be special to me as an individual and as a pivotal point in history. For me, it’s simple. I have never been one to rely on sentiment to sway my decisions, but always practicality and realism. I am voting for Hillary Clinton because for the first time in my living memory, I can honestly say that I am choosing to stand with a candidate who is supremely qualified for the job, having worked her whole life in the services of all Americans. I am extremely proud to say to myself that Hillary is THE right PERSON for the job by all measures—and I am just fortunate that I happen to stand in a place in history where millions of other Americans have finally decided to let the merit of such a woman propel her to a place that she has so rightfully EARNED! I am voting for Hillary simply because she is without a doubt, hands down the best person for the job. And as a son raised by a single mother, with three beautiful hard-working sisters and the proud uncle to a number of nieces, I want to be able to say that I’ve done my part to truly help them realize that the world is theirs and anything is possible if you work for it. Hillary PUT IN THE WORK and that is why I am proudly WITH HER!” —Neil, Louisiana
“Voting for Hillary Clinton is a deeply personal thing for me. I have always been an individual who refuses to accept that being a woman could limit what I am capable of, or what I could do with my life. This is a belief I have had for as long as I can remember. On a family trip to Washington, D.C. when I was seven years ago, we took a tour of the White House. On that tour, we walked through a hall that had paintings and images of all the presidents. I noticed the lack of women on the wall, and asked my dad why there weren’t any women on the walls. There have been countless moments throughout my life when I have been told I cannot do or achieve something because of my gender. I have been subject to double standards within my family and throughout society. Electing Secretary Clinton is an important step in breaking those societal restrictions. It affirms that all children can work hard and aspire to be whatever they want to be. Seven-year-old me feels pride and vindication for all the times that people have used my gender to limit not just me—but all girls and women.” —Tara, Maryland
“Voting for Hillary means a lot to me, but the actual act of casting my vote was not a monumentally emotional event. She’s unequivocally the most qualified person for the job, I share her commitment to inclusiveness and making America work for everyone, and agree with the vast majority of her platform. I’m young and grew up around strong women (and men who supported the strong women), so it has never been difficult for me to imagine a woman being president. What has been incredibly moving, however, is how much it means to other people. I’ve been addicted to Pantsuit Nation and reading the stories of people who have much more to lose than me, who were alive when women could not vote, and who have experience firsthand the hate and discrimination that Trump permits. It reminds me that I am not just voting for myself.” —Hannah, Maryland
“To be honest, I’ve been more preoccupied for Trump to lose. Only today have I allowed myself to think about how momentous it would be if Clinton wins. I’ve never really articulated my experiences with sexism, but my reaction to her potential victory certainly has me reflecting on my own experiences. I took my four-year-old daughter to vote, and I made her stop, look me square in the eyes, and promise to try her best to remember this moment. Fingers crossed!” —Niki, Maryland
“I’m so proud to be voting for Hillary in Massachusetts, because of how many doors this will open for future women leaders. The path will still be hard but with a woman president, she sets the example that women are strong, powerful, and can lead a business or country.” —Hillary, Massachusetts
“This morning at the polling place, there was a woman in a white pantsuit with her infant daughter. As she walked out of the voting booth I heard her say, ‘We did it, baby.’ As an organizer and advocate for women’s equality, my vote for Hillary Clinton is a celebration of this incredible moment in our history. This campaign isn’t just about one candidate. It’s about all the struggle and sacrifice that women and people of colour have gone through to vote in this country. It’s about all the work that has been done to ensure opportunity and equality for all people–and all the work that lies ahead of us. For me, having a woman in the White House—a champion for women’s rights—sends a powerful message to our children, our country, the world about what we value and what is possible.” —Amanda, Michigan
“For me it boiled down to this: I don’t believe Donald Trump has ever, a day in his life, thought about helping someone other than himself.” —Tyler, New York
“It’s hard to put in words what it means to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not much of a writer. But there is a strong feeling inside me. I voted for her in 2008 in California and now in Oregon. I think of all the strong women in my life and my young daughter (who is also strong in personality and will at 19 months old!) and am so filled with hope and happiness.” —Marjorie, Oregon
“This election cycle I voted for the most qualified candidate ever to run for President of the United States of America. Secretary Clinton brings extensive knowledge and experience stemming from her time serving as First Lady, Senator of New York, and Secretary of State. That aside, she has been a champion for human rights and social justice her entire life. She listens and does not merely wait her turn to speak. She has reached across the aisle to create positive change for her constituents. She has withstood heinous attacks on her intelligence. job performance, marriage, physical aesthetic—and every other aspect of her life—with grace and poise. She is my inspiration. She is my hero.” —Natalie, Washington
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