It has been fifteen years since the first time I ever voted in an election, and each year is equally as exciting as the last. Sure, an election might not seem like a big deal for some. Depending on what state you are in, you either pull a few levers, or fill in a few bubbles to make your selections known, then you go on about your day. As a minority and a woman, elections have a special meaning for me.
Had I existed years ago, I would not have been considered a full citizen in this country. My gender and the extra pigment in my skin would have made me inferior, and ineligible to vote in any election. I would have had no say so in rights and rulings that would effect me directly as a human being. Having never experienced those inequalities, I can imagine why it would be easy for some people to take their rights for granted.
I know many people who did not participate in the election. Some may have been ill-advised. Some are under the impression that their vote doesn’t count for anything. When I watched the results come in as each poll closed and saw a difference of only a very few percentage points, I am here to tell you thatEVERY SINGLE VOTE COUNTS. It is easy to complain about the current state of things, but complaints don’t change anything. Actions do. I was really discouraged to hear so many people, namely women and minorities (or a combination of the two) proudly proclaim that they don’t bother to participate in elections. What a disservice to the legacies of our ancestors who fought and died for our right to turn in a ballot.
I was as proud today to stand in line at the polling center as I was fifteen years ago. As I watched the news, it made me feel good to know that I was a part of the percentages for some of those candidates. Not every candidate I voted for was victorious, but I was proud nonetheless. I had not said a word verbally, but I spoke with each circle I filled in with my black ballpoint pen.