It’s Tuesday, Nov. 6: election day. Since I am 18, I am finally able to vote after 18 years of being powerless.
The voting process for me started in my law and comparative government classes as they helped me learn about the candidates running, and what those candidates were running for. I looked at various websites, answered questions about my stance on various issue, and bam, all of the candidates who best fit my beliefs popped up. It was crazy, but the people who I was already planning on voting for were the ones who popped up, making me feel confident in my decisions.
I wake up and look at the clock. It’s 12 p.m. I slept in as long as I could since we don’t get many days off of school like this. Voting is open pretty much all day so there is no need to rush. I get up, get dressed and go downstairs for some breakfast and look over the sample ballot my mom shows me to know what I am going to do when I get there.
Is this really what the ballot is going to look like? I could ask, but the chances of it being a dumb question are high, so I’m just going to keep it to myself.
“Alright. It looks good,” I say to my mom.
“So you ready to go?” my mom responds
“Yep, let’s go vote,” I say
We get in the car and drive to Lakewood Elementary, our voting location. I hadn’t been to Lakewood in a couple of years, and it looks so much different than what I remembered. We park in the big bus parking lot and walk in.
How did they put us in this parking lot and say “go have recess” for an hour? Also, why did they ever put us in this parking lot? We had a playground and a blacktop. Were we not smart enough to realize we were playing in a parking lot?
We walk into the school from the front entrance and right away, me and my mom are confronted by the junior planning bake sale.
Are they really going to sit right inside the school for everyone to pass, guilting us into buying things? I’m not buying anything, are you kidding? If they’re not out supporting the seniors, why should I support them here?
They don’t ask if I want anything, and I continue to the voting room. Outside the room is yet another sample ballot, this one, however is four feet tall. I look at it over again, making sure I know who I am voting for, and go into the room.
There are three people sitting at a table greeting the voters, giving them their voter cards.
“Hi, what is your name and address?” the volunteer says.
Do I say Daniel or Danny? I never know.
“I’m Daniel Rothenberg,” I respond and I proceed to give her my address.
You really thought I was going to tell you my address didn’t you haha no way. However If you want Jonnie Voyta’s address I will kindly give it to you. She then prints out this piece of paper from a machine and hands it to me.
“Alright Daniel, could you please look over this, make sure all of the information is correct and then sign the bottom?” the volunteer says.
I look it over and it is all good.
“It’s all good,” I say.
“Okay then please take it over there and you’re all good,” the volunteer says as she pointed to another table with two more people sitting there.
I take it over and is greeted by a lady standing the table.
“First time voter?” the lady says.
“Yep,” I respond.
Does she ask every teenager this?
“Woo Hoo congratulations, thanks for coming out today,” the lady says as a crowd of people clap to congratulate me for voting for the first time.
Then the lady hands me a folder with the ballot and explains to me what I am supposed to know. I know it all because I came prepared but have to listen to it anyway. I wait about two minutes and 18 seconds for a voting stand to open and then make my way to the stand.
This is not what I expected the voting stand to look like. First off I didn’t know I had to stand the whole time. I thought I would be sitting, also why am I hand bubbling in each person I’m voting for? I thought there was that cool hole punching machine thing that sounded fun?
I bubble in the people I am voting for and made my way to the scanner. After you vote you have to scan your voting card into a machine while someone looks over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing it right but at the same time not looking at who you are voting for.
“Are you a first time voter?” the lady at the scanning machine said.
“Yes I am,” I respond as again I am surrounded with another group of people congratulating me for I guess being 18 years old.
“Well, congratulations, and since your ballot is all scanned in you are good to go. Have a nice day and on your way out make sure to get your sticker,” the lady at the scanning machine said.
“Thank you, have a nice day,” I reply.
I make my way over toward the exit. I am walking proudly and made sure I get my sticker that I always see people wearing. I put it on very confidently as I have finally voted.