MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Shelby Lynch left her home in Mesa before the sun came up, something out of the ordinary for the 18-year-old college student.
With her ballot in hand, Lynch walked to her car around 6 a.m. with a big smile on her face.
The Mesa Community College student is typically asleep at that time, but Tuesday morning was different.
She woke up hours before she normally does to vote at the MCC Red Mountain polling site.
Shortly after 7 a.m., Lynch enthusiastically turned in her mail-in ballot before heading to class.
“I voted today, I voted today, I’m really pumped,” she said, seconds after walking out of the polling site.
After 18 years of growing up in Arizona, Lynch finally got to vote in an election.
“I’m really excited. I was really hesitant to put it in, the guy up there told me to put it in. I told him it was my first time and he was really excited for me. I’m just really empowered right now,” Lynch said.
She knows her vote counts and could make a difference in some of the state’s closest races.
“The senate race is one of the most important ones so I'm definitely interested to see how that one turns out,” Lynch said.
It took months for Lynch to figure out if she would vote for Democrat Kyrsten Sinema or Republican Martha McSally to replace Jeff Flake's seat.
“After going in-depth with research and trying not to get so much outside pressure and influence, I was able to pick someone that I think was going to better Arizona,” Lynch said.
Lynch knows this is the first of many elections in her future, but could go down as the most memorable.
“I voted today. This is my first time voting. I’m so excited to get more stickers in the future,” Lynch said with a huge grin on her face.