I’m Voting for the First Time Ever This Year and You Should Too

Voting for the First Time Ever

This year I’ll be voting for the first time ever in the upcoming mid-term elections. After some introspection and reflection over the past two years, it’s long overdue.

Why the wait? I just never believed in voting. I felt my vote was meaningless. That the money of politicians overruled the public voice. I hoped that the people in our country who did vote would choose good politicians who would be wise and sensible enough to make decisions for the betterment of society.

Wow… I got that one wrong!

Now, before anyone jumps on the bandwagon of harassing my decision not to vote over previous years, I do have some reasons. It started with a middle school Government teacher I had that outright told our 7th-grade class that our votes for the president were a waste because the electoral college and other politicians ultimately made the choice. This was later reinforced in later years as I watched presidents lose the popular vote but still win the office because of the weighting of the electoral college.

Not only that, but I HATED the unrest, conflict, and anger that political differences caused in society. These differences in political opinion brought out the worst in people. The world of politics on the inside wasn’t much better with all the stories of corruption, irresponsibility, and scandal. I wanted to disassociate myself from politics completely.

And that’s what I did.  I wanted nothing to do with politics.  I took the stance to sit back and hope everything would work out, essentially delegating all the important decision making to the rest of the country.  Even when thinking about the possibility of voting, I began to think to myself… It’s a broken system, what does my one little vote matter? My vote was a speck of dust in a vast universe. What would even be the point?

Clearing Up the Misconceptions

In hindsight, my old middle school Government teacher only got it partially right.  She missed an important concept that I think a lot of people have misconceptions about.  In fact, I think many people in our country aren’t really sure how our government system works.  Yes, it is true our votes may not matter for positions in higher office. What does count are the people we elect to put in the lower positions that ultimately do represent us and vote for the higher politicians.

You see, it all trickles up. The real point of voting is picking the people we want to represent our voice and beliefs when it’s their turn to cast their votes and make important decisions on our behalf.

Not only that, but our local government offices are filled almost entirely by the voice of the public.  The national government is important, but it’s our state and local governments that often have a bigger direct impact on our lives.  State laws even supersede federal laws often times, and these state laws usually play the biggest part in our daily lives.  Local taxes, property costs, small business benefits, where our tax dollars go, what public services are available, education systems, driver laws, the list goes on and on.  By electing people who believe what we believe for local government, we can create the environment we want.

We can’t guarantee everything will always go as planned, but we at least must make a good and informed choice for those who will stand up for what we believe in.  There also will probably still be corruption and other illegal and unethical behavior as long as politics are politics, but that’s even more reason to let our voices be heard so we ensure that the most honest and ethical people are elected.  Let’s vote to get the bad out and the good in!

Understanding Why I Must Vote

So why am I finally deciding to vote?  Various events over the past two years have made it impossible for me to ignore the world of politics any longer.  I can’t stand idly by and just hope that “things will work out for the best”.  Even though my single vote is a speck in a sea of votes, I realized how foolish and ignorant this excuse is.

Yes, I only have a single vote to give, but how many other people are in the same boat as me?  How many other people out there don’t vote because they feel their vote is insignificant?  Well, if all of us were to get up and vote, our vote is not so insignificant anymore!

I have to do my part.  Not voting because you feel your vote is meaningless actually makes that belief come true.

Another big motivator was some research I did on voter turnout over the past several elections.  I was shocked by the findings.  40% of eligible citizens DID NOT vote in the last primary elections.  Mid-term election voter turnout has been historically worse with ~60% not showing up to vote (Last year’s midterm election only had a turnout of 35.9%!  64.1% did not vote!)

Whatever the reason this 40-60% of people decide not to vote, it’s not a good thing.  Over half the country is “checking out” and letting others decide for them (only 4% did not vote due to registration problems).  Considering an eligible voting population of 235 million people, this means that over 100 MILLION people are not voting. Even having a turnout of 1-2% more voters could have a major impact on what politicians are holding office.

I also saw a recent video with Barack Obama that helped shed some light on a lot of the misconceptions about voting.  This really resonated with me.  So many of the non-voting population say the exact things covered in the video.  My vote doesn’t matter.  Politics suck.  Politicians will always be out of touch with what society needs.  It’s like that because so many people ARE NOT voting!  Once again, 60% did not vote in the last general election. Can you imagine if all of us upset with the government voted and made our voice heard? We might not need to complain anymore!

I think Obama said it well, many politicians are running for office and COUNTING on the vast majority of people not voting.  They lobby towards the populations they feel do historically vote and couldn’t care less about the people that don’t agree with them because they are hoping we simply won’t vote! There are candidates that believe in terrible things, but they simply hope their campaign marketing will allow them to slip into office.

It’s More Important Than Ever That We Vote

Whatever our reasons for not voting in the past, it’s important we let our voices be heard.  The United States is in the bottom third for voter turnout for all wealthy and developed countries.  Even if we do feel our vote is meaningless, we need to do our part and vote anyway.  We can’t count on others to make the best choices for us.  It was foolish of me.  If we all vote, our voices can unite and be heard!

In prior years, some might have had difficulty finding the time to go vote. Thankfully, most states have made voting easier than ever. Online voting (in some states), mail-in and absentee ballots, and some companies are even starting to give employees paid time off to go vote. Even voter registration has been made easier.  With the various options, it’s hard to find an excuse not to take the time to vote.

Last but not least, regardless of whether you’re voting for the 1st time or 50th time, please don’t vote blindly or ignorantly.  Take some time to research the candidates running for office and positions and make an informed decision.  I feel that many people just vote strictly for their political party  (Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, etc) without really researching the candidates and what they stand for.  We need to pick the candidates that stand most for what we believe in regardless of their political party!  I have no issue with voting for someone in a different political party than mine and you shouldn’t either.

Now Go Get Ready to Vote!

So I’m voting this year and it’s been a mistake to wait this long.  I need to do what I can to make sure the world becomes the best place it can be, for EVERYONE.  My vote may be insignificant by itself, but if we all vote, I’m sure it won’t be insignificant any longer.  This is why you should vote, too.  Your voice matters, but it certainly won’t be heard if you don’t vote.

Voting for this year’s election is November 6th, 2018.  Many states even will allow you to register on the day of the election!  You can also use this helpful website to see various options for voter registration in your state.

https://vote.gov/

Now go get registered, research the candidates, and get ready to vote!

Yours Truly,
– Mr. Happy Work

Pinterest Voting for the First Time

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Simone
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Simone

Your article brought me to tears! I couldn’t agree with you more about everything you said!! I didn’t start voting till I was in my early 40’s, I’m 66 now & my reasons were all the same as yours… you know… I can’t vote for the lesser of 2 evils & all that garbage (I realize now it was garbage) and wrong-headed thinking. I wish I had found this article earlier so I could pass it on to people I know who haven’t or won’t vote… sigh… election day is tomorrow. However, I have it bookmarked & will pass it along in the future. Thanks so much for this eloquent & very well put together post!

Eric kay
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Eric kay

Hey man way to exercise your rights and vote. Great job at encouraging others to do the same

Megan
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Megan

I’m not able to vote, but I think it’s so important if you can! Thank you for sharing this!

JOHN MULINDI
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JOHN MULINDI

I have voted in all elections since I reached my voting age. I think it is important to vote to choose the leaders you feel are the right to lead you.

Nicole
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Nicole

I appreciate your sharing your reasons to vote in this upcoming election. I hope that your message is heard by many who are wondering if their vote matters. Get out there and vote everyone!!

Shirley
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Shirley

I was feeling like my vote didn’t really matter so I was not going to bother. After reading this article, you’ve convinced me that I just need to get out there and vote! Thanks for the reminder that no matter how small my voice, it still needs to be heard.

Jenny
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Jenny

This is so informative and on point. I voted easily by mail and made my voice heard. Not too many excuses to get it done these days, there are so many ways.

Liz
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Liz

I couldn’t agree more. Voting is one our important responsibility in the society where we practice and expresses our rights. I am excited and kinda really involved during election times.

Preet
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Preet

Voting plays a big role in our life. This will allow us to choose the right person that will help us change our community.

Geraline Batarra
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Geraline Batarra

Voting for me is really important. It doesn’t matter if the person you vote win on that election but what is important is you take your chance to do your part.

Christa
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Christa

My 18 year old son voted for the first time yesterday, and I was so proud. I take my right to vote seriously and have voted in every election since I was eligible. Now more than ever, we need reasonable, educated voters. Welcome to the club – we’re glad you’re here. 🙂

Marcie
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Marcie

I also was basically taught that my vote doesn’t really count, so it wasn’t a priority until I got to college and realized it does count. Glad you decided to make a difference!

Product Review Mom
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Product Review Mom

I remember voting for the first time, a fun experience knowing my voice is being heard. I am helping to make a difference!

Joanna
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Joanna

I have always voted. In my country, if you don’t go to vote, because of the corruption, it can be stole by someone else. And I never wanted that. I have the right to vote for a reason, it’s one of the fundamental freedoms, so I always chose to make it count.

Alexis
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Alexis

Voting is absolutely important, although I’ve been known to skip some years as well. Thank you for taking the time to educate everyone on why it is important to vote.

angel
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angel

we should all exercise our right to vote. as they say, you do not have the right to complain if you didn’t act in the first place. you should start change in yourself. doing nothing doesn’t help.

Evelyn Hernandez
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Evelyn Hernandez

I agree! We should exercise our rights to vote, it makes a difference.

Brit Strawbridge
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Brit Strawbridge

Voting is definitely so important! I once heard if you don’t vote it’s still a vote, just placed by someone else. Definitely a right everyone should exercise!

Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women
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Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women

I have always been taught and believed that voting is an important part of living in a free democratic country and is something you must do if you truly value that freedom. I totally agree with your statement that “Not voting because you feel your vote is meaningless actually makes that belief come true” and I would go a step further in saying we all have a responsibility to encourage and educate our fellow citizens to do likewise. This is obviously something you are helping with through publishing this post.

Woodeline
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Woodeline

I am so glad that you are doing this. I usually tell people that you still vote even when you don’t go to the poll because you give access to someone else that is not fit for the position. Regardless of your party you should vote.

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