At 29 years old, Douglas Dismuke voted for the first time Tuesday.
"I've never really been interested in voting," Dismuke said.
But with a hand from his neighborhood and hope for a better life, he tried something new.
"A lot of us are stuck in a rut, trying to change our lives. This was an opportunity to do something different," Dismuke said.
Dismuke was among around 1,000 residents in Freeport's 3rd Ward, filling ballot booths Election day. Unusual numbers for this neighborhood.
"I've noticed in other elections that voter turnout has always been low and I wanted to change that," Alderman Ronnie Bush said.
And Alderman Bush did that with the help of neighborhood churches and the Freeport chapter of the NAACP. Doing things like...
"We had some poll watching, driving people to the polls, and going door to door," Alderman Bush said.
Efforts Bush says easily doubled the number of voters from his ward compared to the last presidential election. And inspired many first-timers like Dismuke and folks like Tiffany Whitted to do it again.
"I see how important that is when you have the turnout in the numbers. It can make a difference," Whitted said.
"I won't let another four years go by before i continue to vote," Dismuke said.
A pledge to return here next time around, enjoying a new power they never did before.
Like many others, those new voters were attracted to Barack Obama and the opportunity to see the country's first Black president. They say Obama's win changes the landscape in America with great promise for minorities.