I didn’t expect voting to make me feel anything. I didn’t expect it to make me feel better, let alone make me feel strong.
I voted for the first time in the midterm elections in 2018. A month prior to that, if you had asked me if I was going to vote, I would’ve told you no. I decided last minute I wanted to vote because all of a sudden laws were changing and not in the ways I believed they should be changed. It made me angry, but above all, it made me sad. I was so upset that my own country would believe in things and enforce things that I disagree with so strongly. I felt helpless all of a sudden that rights were being stripped away from people who didn’t deserve it.
It was October of 2018, I had just turned 19 the month prior. I was heading to a LANY concert that night. I spent that day and a few days prior educating myself on everything I would be voting on. Before I left, I mailed in my ballot and felt a change in myself. I exercised my right to vote. I used my voice. I used my vote for good. I can be a change in this country. My vote matters.
(And yes, I did wear my “I voted” sticker to the concert and I wore it with pride)
I felt empowered after I voted for the first time ever. I felt like I was fulfilling a need I had bottled up inside of me for so long. I have my views and my opinions. I am also very passionate about my views and opinions. For a while, I felt like I had no way to act on those passions or express them. Voting gave me the opportunity to fight for the change I am so passionate about.
At 20, I have now voted for the second time. I voted in the primary elections 2020 and felt the same empowerment I had felt during the midterm elections. I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, but I am here to encourage you to use your voice and fight for what you believe in. Your vote can make the difference. Your vote matters. At 19 I didn’t think I was going to vote, and now at 20 having voted twice, I don’t think I will ever not vote.