A small crowd of Johns Hopkins University students piled into the back of a Blue Jay Shuttle early Tuesday morning, sample ballots in hand, ready to cast their votes.
For many of the students who boarded, this was their first time voting in a presidential election.
Spandana Mandaloju, a junior cognitive science major, said following the campaign was a surreal experience.
"This election has been so different from past elections," she said. "It's surprising to see the country so divided and on opposite ends of the spectrum. It was just kind of revealing about the composition of our country—sometimes we can get stuck in the thoughts of our own generation or communities."
Added Usman Enam, a first-year molecular cellular biology major: "I haven't met many peers that aren't voting, so I was happy about that. ... And of course people have differences of opinion with who they should vote for. And I'm fine with that, too. I respect that. It has been controversial. I've been trying to fight for my side, but I've also been trying to listen to what other people are saying as well."
Jamie Chan, a senior behavioral biology major, said she knew who she would vote for as soon as the nominees were announced.
"The high point for me was the Democratic National Convention," she said. "I really enjoyed watching it. The lows were like, almost every other point in the election. I would just feel so gross after watching a debate."
The shuttles were specially scheduled to bus students to and from local polling places, making stops at the First England Lutheran Church on Charles Street and the Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. When the shuttle pulled up to the First England Lutheran Church, voters from JHU were greeted by Green Party mayoral candidate Joshua Harris.
And a power outage.
"At about 8:30 this morning, a transformer blew in our neighborhood and that cut off power to the church, but the polling place has auxiliary power and BGE has been notified, so the polls are open," said Nora Worthington, a church representative.
Poll officials used flashlights to guide voters to the church's nave, which was filled with natural light from the stained glass windows.
"We're planning on staying open," Worthington said. "And everything should be just as normal."
Polls closed in Maryland at 8 p.m., and Johns Hopkins students had a few results viewing parties to choose from, including one hosted by IDEAL at JHU at Nolan's on 33rd, and another hosted at the Office of Multicultural Affairs by JHU Students Empowering and Educating for Diversity.