This past week I participated in early voting. This was my first time being able to vote and I want to share my experience.
I might be a rare case: I actually enjoy politics and have ever since I was a little girl. I was that 7th grader who wanted to be a senator (I am just waiting to meet the freakin’ age requirements) and did all my research projects on the government. Since I am young for my grade/school year, I always had to wait to do everything everyone else got to do a year earlier, this included voting.
I have imagined the day I would finally be able to go to the polls, flash my voter registration card and select who I wanted to be in office. This actually thrilled me, but it also killed me to have to wait until I was 18. In my head, I was just as educated as everyone else getting to vote, I was just as excited, and just as informed, so why do I have to wait 6 months to prove that? Although I knew it was law and I could not change it, I was still upset until my 18th birthday. The morning I turned 18, I updated my license and registered to vote (even if that did make me late to class). I was the proudest 18-year-old voter there ever was.
When an election finally came around that I could vote in, I set the dates in my calendar, mapped out the closest polls in my county to me and patiently waited.
The day finally came where I got in my car, dragged my roommate with me and drove to the polls. I pulled into a school admin parking lot, put my car in park and got out. The first two people I saw were still campaigning and noticed how young I look. They stopped to ask me why I looked so excited, thus I proceeded to tell them this was my first time being able to vote. They both clapped and cheered for me as I walked through the doors like I was a celebrity. It was a very exciting start.
Once I was finally through the doors the lady showed me the way to the line and asked me to take out my government-issued ID, as a small panic came over me because I thought I lost my driver’s license, my roommate pointed to the back of my phone where my ID was. This anxiety settled very quickly, and I was already at the front of the line. I showed the man sitting behind the computer my ID and he asked me to verify my address. He then noticed it was my first time voting and proceeded to say it deserved a round of applause so he and 2 ladies clapped for me. I began to blush and waited to be handed my voter card.
When I got the card, there were four different polls open so I picked one and the lady showing people to the line showed me where to enter my card into the machine. Then I was finally able to cast my very first vote.
I was overwhelmed when I received my “I voted” sticker. I wore it proudly for the next 24 hours and even made my roommate take pictures of me to send in my family group chat (showing that I am officially an adult).
Voting was something that I could not wait to do and was so envious of everyone who got to do it before me. The wait was worth it though. I am so happy to have participated in my civic duty and I encourage everyone else to go out this Tuesday, November 6th, and go out and vote! Before going out, educate yourself on the issues your county is voting on, the politicians running, and the duties of each position being voted on. The only thing worse than not voting is voting blindly. Know what you are voting on and understand the effects of your vote.