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We spoke to five first-timers in states across the country about why this election matters to them.

With early voting winding down and election day still around the corner, Americans have already turned out in record numbers to cast ballots that will decide their nation's future.

And they've done so despite mounting barriers to voting access and while bearing the weight of collective traumas, from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to police violence against protestors and extreme weather events that have wreaked havoc on frontline communities.

"My anger factored into my decisions," Gwen, a 19-year-old voter from rural New York, admitted to Popdust.

Voter turnout is up this year because first-time voters are making voting plans, getting to the polls, and casting ballots in droves. Some have just become eligible to vote because of their age or as recently naturalized citizens, while others have never felt compelled to vote before but changed their minds this year. Popdust spoke to five first-timers in states across the country about why this election matters to them.

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