EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog post was written by LWVUS intern Natalie Hall
Voting has always been a family affair. Every election I would go with my parents to our local polling place and watch as they consulted the “Election Guide” in the Denver Post and filled out their ballots. As I got older, and my parents got busier, they started to vote by absentee ballot, but the three of us would still sit down at the kitchen table and talk over each issue at hand. We would talk about what we’d heard on the news, the ads presented on TV and anything we’d each picked up from school or work.
To my parents, part of living in a democracy is fulfilling your civic duty. Voting and volunteering for campaigns was their way of keeping the life blood of democracy pumping through our society. When I turned 18, it wasn’t even a question of if I’d register to vote, it was a matter of when. The morning of my birthday, my dad and I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license and to fill out my voter registration form.
I moved to Washington, D.C. for college, so my first time voting was absentee. I sat down with my absentee ballot and went to VOTE411.org to find more information about the issues. After looking over the voter guides and reading the candidates’ campaign websites, I voted. I folded my ballot back up, put it back in it envelope and sent it back to Colorado to be counted.
My parents were the biggest role models for participating in our democracy in my early life, which was incredibly formative in how I see and interact with the world. CIRCLE reports that “Voting is habit-forming: when young people learn the voting process and vote they are more likely to do so when they are older. If individuals have been motivated to get to the polls once, they are more likely to return. So, getting young people to vote early could be key to raising a new generation of voters.” My parents started early engaging me in our democracy and by showing me a strong example of civic duty and purpose. I know that because of their example that I will be a lifetime voter.
To me, as an international affairs major, voting means something special—I get to participate in something that not everyone in the world has the opportunity to do. I get to vote in fair and free elections. People the world over have died for the chance to put their ballot in a box. Voting is our right and in order for our government to honor the principles upon which we were founded, all Americans must participate. Join me, register to vote today!
Voting is your chance to choose! Don't miss out. Visit VOTE411.org to make sure your voter registration is up-to-date and learn about voting rules and deadlines in your state. Don’t forget to remind your friends and family to register to vote!