Growing up, voting was a family affair. I had Election Day off from my school in Pennsylvania, and I always accompanied my mom to cast her vote at our local polling place. Each time, I learned something about the importance of her one vote and the responsibility of every American to have a say in our government. The summer that I turned 18, my mother walked me through the process of registering to vote, describing to me the fundamental democratic right that is voting.
Having witnessed countless elections, I was thrilled to finally be able to register to vote. Now, as the midterm elections approach, I’ll soon vote for the first time, and the same sensation of excitement is following me around! Voting this Election Day will give me the opportunity to make an impact on the issues that affect my family and my community. Because I’m attending college in Washington, DC, I’ll be voting absentee before November 4.
Preparing to vote was easy! I requested an absentee ballot through VOTE411.org, which gives voters all the information they need to vote, including early and absentee voting deadlines. VOTE411.org is also helping me learn more about the candidates on my ballot, allowing me to make more informed choices when it comes time to vote.
Mailing in my ballot in the coming weeks will be a major milestone, and I’m so excited to cast my vote in an election for the first time. So many young people miss this important opportunity. For example, in my home state of Pennsylvania, only 22 percent of people my age voted in the 2010 midterm elections, while 46 percent voted in the presidential election in 2012. Yet 46 million young people ages 18-29 are eligible to vote, making up 21 percent of the voting population.
As young people, we’re helping shape the future of our country, and we need to vote in order for our views and needs to be represented by our government. Our voices have the ability to help propel the country forward. We, the youth, are strong in numbers, and we represent the future of the United States, and with that responsibility, we must turn out in large numbers on November 4!
For a personalized voting guide on elections in your community, including candidate information, ID rules, early and absentee voting information and much more, visit VOTE411.org and enter your address.