Participating in democracy for the first time

Hope Whitney '21, Supervising Page Editor

The thought of being able to vote had never really excited me, until this year. I turned 18 in October, perfect timing for the election. I found this election, as many others did, to be especially important for our country, making it even more meaningful for me to be able to vote.

The overall experience was exciting and unusual. My siblings and I woke up at the crack of dawn in an attempt to avoid the long line, however we were unsuccessful and ended up waiting outside for about half an hour. Although my brother is 24 and my sister is 21, it was both of their first times voting as well. We were all a tad confused about the whole process but for the most part, it worked out. Although, knowing my luck, something had to go wrong. After I filled out my ballot, the machine wouldn’t accept it. There I was, a teenage girl who was clearly there for the first time, holding up the line. The poll workers eventually gave up trying to force my ballot into the machine and gave me a new one to fill out.

Filling out the ballot was surprisingly overwhelming. There were so many candidates for various positions that I didn’t even know anything about. One thing that I found helpful was while you were waiting in line, there were mock ballots available to look over before the real thing. This helped me get a sense of where everything was and recap who I was going to vote for. I honestly didn’t even fill out all the sections of the ballot. Some may say that’s ignorant of me, but I simply had the most knowledge surrounding the presidential candidates and cared the most about that.

I felt good after voting. It felt good knowing that I participated in democracy, a foundation of our country. It felt good knowing that I made a difference in this country, although it was just one vote because truly, every vote matters. Having the right to vote really is something special. We are extremely lucky in the United States to be able to vote. I strongly encourage everyone who can to exercise their right to vote next election.