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Photo of Blugold voting puts freshman in the national spotlight

| Judy Berthiaume

When Abi Nesbitt went to Davies Center Tuesday to vote in her first-ever election she had no idea she soon would become a face of Wisconsin’s closely followed primary presidential election.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire freshman from Mosinee was surprised to wake up this morning and find her photo featured in news media coast to coast.

“When the man approached me and took my picture and asked about me, I felt like a superstar,” Abi says of being photographed on Election Day. “It made me realize that our generation and the millennial vote is so absolutely important, and that I was meant to be there yesterday to vote.”

Little did Abi know that the photo of her taken by the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram would be shared on the Associated Press wire service, making it available to media near and far to use with their many stories about a primary election that saw both parties’ front-runners lose.

The Blugold’s photo was used by media ranging from U.S. News & World Report to the Boston Globe to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Abi says that while it’s an honor to have her image used nationally, the greatest honor is having the opportunity to vote.

“I felt so emotional when I was voting,” says Abi, a marketing analytics major. “That suffragettes have fought so hard for me to sit there in that voting box and make my voice be heard is something I’ll never take for granted.”

A supporter of Bernie Sanders, she has been actively engaged in the presidential election for many months, Abi says, noting that she and her friends traveled to St. Paul in January to stand in a long line for a chance to shake Sanders’ hand and wish him luck.

Abi says she’s glad that the candidate she’s supporting won the Wisconsin primary, but she’s even happier that so many Blugolds took the time to vote on Tuesday.

“I am so proud of the voter turnout here at UWEC,” Abi says. “Our voices and our votes matter, and no matter who anyone voted for yesterday, their vote was a drop in an ocean. And what is democracy other than many drops that make up an ocean?”

Photo caption: A photo of freshman Abi Nesbitt voting in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary election that was taken by an Eau Claire Leader-Telegram photographer has been used by national media across the country.

Photo credit: Dan Reiland, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram