BALTIMORE – Columbia, Maryland, resident Armon Wilson had one goal for participating in his first election: be first in line.
"As soon as the polls open, I'm going to be the first one there. I'm not going to wait in line, and I'm going to make my voice heard," said Wilson, 19.
His mission started three hours before he walked through the front doors of Wilde Lake High School on the first day of early voting Monday morning. And by the time Wilson came out, "I voted" sticker in hand, he was a viral sensation.
Wilson was awake by 4 a.m. Monday to shower, change and begin the 2-mile trek to Wilde Lake High.
By 4:15 a.m., he hit the road, walking the same route he used to take when he attended Wilde Lake High. During the hourlong walk, Wilson didn't look at his phone once; with broken headphones, he had no choice but to lean into the eerie silence of the morning.
"I was walking in silence, in deep thought, because I still didn't entirely know who to vote for," Wilson said.
The anxiety of achieving his goal of being first in line filled his mind with each step he took toward his alma mater, where he graduated from earlier this year. His mind was occupied with the thought of, "I'm going to be late. Someone's going to beat me."
For three days before voting, Wilson said he was really fixated on being first.
"I didn't want to wait in any lines. I wanted to vote right then and there. I didn't want to wait for Nov. 3. I knew if I was first, I wouldn't have to wait and I would show everyone else that young people vote," he said.
As he inched within viewing distance of the school around 5:15 a.m., he squinted to see if anyone had beat him. As he walked up to the cafeteria doors where the large white vote sign was placed, he was ecstatic — he was all alone.