What a time to be a first-time voter
November 1, 2016
There is an anticipation that surfaces when someone’s birthday comes around. For me, the anticipation of turning 18 comes with various new privileges and opportunities; one of those opportunities being able to vote. With adulthood creeping up on me, I finally went online and registered to vote. Never having done this before, I expected a ten page registration form to pop up, but instead, I was greeted with a simple registration form where I only had to fill out easy information about myself.
Even as a senior in high school, I have never familiarized myself much with politics or much about this year’s election. It is hard to find time to between college essays, homework, and sleep, but as the election comes closer, I have been reminding myself why it is important. This election will serve as my first election I will ever vote for, but it is also so full of controversy and opinions that I feel as though I need to take part.
When I went to fill out the ballot, I brought the blue book with me and I took one look at it and quickly retaliated because I was not in the mood to read a novel. Being a first time voter, I had no idea what I was doing so I called in the only help I can think of at my age: my mom.
It was an eye-opening experience for me to vote. Many of the people I had never heard of, so I either turned to my mom to tell me who they were or relied on Google to tell me. I did the same for the amendments because apparently you have to be an amendment expert and be able to read hieroglyphics in order to decipher what you are really voting for.
While filling out the ballot I felt like a child still, someone not aware of what the political world really contains. I made my own decisions, with a slight influence from my mom, but I found that turning 18 does not mean that I automatically know all there is to know about the real world.
After talking to another senior, Makenna Green, who is also a first time voter, I found that we experienced very similar things in the voting process. Makenna felt that we, among all others who are turning 18 this year, are in a different situation even compared to other first time voters. Some first time voters are in their twenties and have grown up and been around the political world a little more than we have. But for both of us and a couple other seniors in our grade, we are turning 18 the same year the election is. Makenna, who turned 18 in September, said that “Turning 18 during a controversial election is really different.” For Makenna and myself, who is turning 18 five days before the election, we are “fresh” adults and haven’t been able to be adults for very long before we are expected to vote and participate in these big decisions for our country.
However, it is an exciting time to be a voter, especially a first time voter. Even being a rookie to the whole system and even with seemingly unfortunate candidates to choose from, I still feel that voting is important for people to do. As a new and young voter, I look forward to participating in all of the adult opportunities that come my way, but for now, I will face this election with the best armor that I can muster: my mom, Google, and hopefully some common sense.
Linneya Gardner is this year’s Sky-Hi News intern from Middle Park High School. She is a senior and is involved with basketball, soccer and yearbook. Look for her photographs and stories in each edition of the Sky-Hi News.