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Thoughts from the Editorial Intern | June 15, 2018

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As a high-schooler, I have taken a handful of classes where teachers have used class time to tell their students how crucial it is to vote. I didn’t understand how my one vote would matter that much until the 2016 Presidential election. I specifically remember a conversation I had with two seniors, who were both 18 at the time, about the election results. The two were complaining about the outcome, yet when I asked if they had voted, they both silently shook their heads no.

I instantly began thinking. I didn’t understand how they could complain about the outcome when they chose not to participate and exercise their right to vote in the first place. If I could have voted, I would have. I was 17 and only one year short. Maybe the end result would have been a bit different, but I remember telling myself that as soon as I turn 18, I will register myself to vote. That I did.

Tuesday, June 5 was right around the corner, and I kept setting reminders so that I wouldn’t somehow forget. I was so eager to vote, how could I?

I woke up that morning, and I didn’t put two and two together that I was to vote in the California primaries that day. I arrived at school, and, interestingly enough, I had my AP government and United States politics class first thing in the morning. I was sitting in my seat, and my teacher proudly strolled to the front of the classroom with the iconic “I voted” sticker on his Hawaiian shirt. He asked if I was going to vote later, and I replied confidently, “Of course!” I remember wondering how I would actually manage to carve out time to vote, knowing that I had a 3pm-to-closing work shift right after school. I told my teacher I was going to, so I needed to make it happen. Naturally, I waited until the very last day, but luckily, I still had time.

I finally arrived home from school after enduring blocks and blocks of traffic down Willow Street. I pulled into my driveway and rushed through my front door. I stared for a while at the mail, unsure about what to do next. To be completely honest, I was a little puzzled. Running out of time, I opened the sealed envelope, when a packet of papers fell onto the kitchen table. I flipped through the pages examining the lists of names of those running for various positions. I knew who I wanted to vote for. So, that’s exactly what I did. It was really that simple. I had no idea. By just filling in a couple of bubbles, I participated in the country’s democracy. I, of course, had to sign to ensure it was indeed I who voted. It was in this moment that I felt as though my voice, opinion and perspective mattered.

The point of democracy is to ensure that all citizens are represented and that their concerns and opinions are to be heard and valued. I realized my teachers were right– voting is crucial, and one vote does matter in the end. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except for the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

So, we the people– old and young– should make use of America’s democracy.

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Thoughts from the Editorial Intern | June 15, 2018