Gulfport man votes for the first time as an American citizen

Gulfport man votes for the first time as an American citizen
Time to head to the polls. (Photo source: WLOX)
Time to head to the polls. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sasha Ferreira, 39, is a world class violinist. He has played the instrument all his life. One thing the new American citizen hasn't done is vote in the United States. That changed Tuesday.

He spends the morning studying the candidates and making up his mind. He has lived in many places, but the Coast is home now.

"I like how American people help the people that are working hard. It doesn't matter where they are from. So actually you can be here. You can fit in society. You can be part of the American people," Ferreira explained.

Time to head to the polls. What's going through his mind?

"I'm very excited."

Fellow voters are impressed by his dedication, but there's a glitch.  He's at the wrong precinct. That doesn't stop him.  He travels to the right one. Why is he doing this?

"It's important to have all your rights, but you have a lot of things to do to deserve them," said Ferreira.

Everything checks out, and he steps up to the ballot box. Many Americans take voting for granted. Some don't even bother to show up at the polls. For Ferreira, that's not the case, and that's very inspiring for the poll workers. One of them is Carolyn Harris.

"It makes me feel glad to be in the United States where you have freedom to vote. For him to be from somewhere else and come here to voice his opinion on paper and vote is really a pleasure," Harris said.

His ballot goes into the machine to be counted, and the "I voted" sticker goes on his shirt.  What's he thinking now?

"It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than a lot of places."

On the way out, Ferreira discovers something that most citizens already know.

"This voting business makes me hungry and thirsty."

Ferreira plays violin for the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and also travels around the world playing his music.  To make sure he got to the polls this morning, he actually flew back to Mississippi Monday after playing a concert in Nicaragua.

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