Why I Almost Did Not Vote

Anna-Catherine Kueng- Assistant Editor~

abstentee ballot

In February, I turned eighteen and the truth is, I have yet to buy a lottery ticket and I almost missed my chance to vote in the upcoming election.

I know many people my age are thrilled that they finally get to have a say in the world of politics on November 6 and I am, well, not as thrilled. Do not get me wrong: I am grateful for every sacrifice that has been made to ensure my right to vote, especially knowing the history of women’s suffrage. It is humbling to know that people were willing to risk their lives so I could have the right to vote.

My lack of enthusiasm about voting stems from ignorance, if I am being quite honest. As a child, I remember going with my parents to the voting booths and being kind of confused about what they were doing. As I grew older, I became more informed about what it means to exercise my right to vote, and I began researching what candidates line up with my political views. As I have gotten older, I have been intentional about learning as much as I can about the world around me. Although I still prefer reading news articles over watching the news, I am thankful that the latter was always on at my house when I was a child because it taught me about issues that are still prevalent today.

 

I thought I was doing an adequate job at figuring out this whole voting thing until I realized, since I am a freshman, that I will not be in my hometown for my first election. A few of my hallmates had mentioned absentee ballots, but I did not know much about them or how to go about completing one. A week before the deadline of requesting an absentee ballot, I was asked if I was going to vote. I apprehensively said no and explained my dilemma. Luckily, I was informed that the absentee ballot request deadline had not passed and that there was still time to receive one; furthermore, I was reassured that the request process was quite simple. As any good teenager would do, I quickly Googled how to apply for one and filled out an online form. I am proud to say that I can now officially vote for the first time in my life.

While I am excited to vote, I am also still in shock that I am old enough to vote. As a child, I remember the excitement I felt on Election Day because school was out, but also because I always went to the poll with my mother. I would put on a puffy jacket, hop in the car with her, and ride to the designated voting station, which was a local school. My favorite part was watching her receive an “I Voted” sticker and seeing my dad’s when he got home from work. When I was younger, I did not completely understand the significance of the sticker; but now, figuratively speaking, it is my turn to finally receive one.