Join Me in Rocking the Vote for the First Time
It’s been a while since a turned 18 and became legal, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have never cast a vote — not for a local, state, or national election. My first opportunity to vote was the midterm elections in 2006, and I just wasn’t informed enough about the House and Senate to make a smart decision. So I didn’t.
The other thing that paralyzed me, and that made me think it wouldn’t matter if I voted even in the presidential election, was the electoral college. I’m from good old Massachusetts — you know, the first state to legalize gay marriage, the so-blue-we-don’t-even- see-the-color-red state, the most liberal state in the union. There is never a contest about who wins our state’s votes. In fact, the politicians don’t even try; in the last election, I didn’t see a single presidential campaign ad.
So why bother voting? My vote amounts to a spit in the wind, and as long as we’re not talking about national popular vote as an option, things are going to stay that way. Still, though, I felt a renewed urge to cast my vote this year, because more than ever it seems like a year when a tremendous amount is at stake. Like hundreds of millions of others, I’ve seen my country slowly going down the tubes in the past eight years. It’s gotten a lot harder to be proud of my country, and I see the ideals it stands for increasingly obscured by smoke.
That’s when I found out that several states — including my college’s state of New Jersey — have voted to pledge their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular election. Hot damn, my vote counts for one vote again! It’s a very exciting and rebellious move on the part of several states who are tired of only Ohio and Pennsylvania getting all the love.
So I registered!
And you should too. For all you college students out there, register for an absentee ballot the next time you’re in your hometown, or you can register to vote in your college’s state as long as you have a resident address there. College democratic and republican organizations are eager to register young voters, so they often have booths up in public spaces on campus to help you get registered (and are always giving away free stuff!). Go to that extra effort to be a first-timer and you’ll feel invested in your country’s politics and future to a whole new degree.
So for those of you who feel apathetic the way I did, I urge you to reconsider this year. There’s just too much at stake to sit idly by — and this time, your vote just might make a heck of a difference.