[Nov. 2016 Opinions] Honored to spend my 18th birthday at the voting booth


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By Megan Brown ’17

 

Election day fell on my 18th birthday and I could not have been happier to kick it off in the voting booth.  I walked into Long Lots Elementary School wearing 5-inch heeled boots and with my ID in hand. I was ready to go, but I had no idea what I was doing. Being one of the only teenagers there, I was both over the moon and apprehensive.

The first thing that caught my attention as I entered the front door was the interminable line that overflowed the corridor. I could hear a distant yet undoubtedly audible voice shouting, “This is the line for streets that start with ‘W’ only!” For some reason, it seemed like every person in Westport lived on a street that started with a ‘W.’

When I made it to the front of the line, the woman asked for my name, address and I.D. Shaking, I handed her my license and she gave me a ballot and a manila folder. I walked over to one of the booths and scanned the ballot up and down, left and right. As I hovered over the ballot, I meticulously filled bubbles like I was retaking the ACT.

Once I finished, I concealed my bubbles in the manila folder and strode over to the ballot box. I dropped the manila folder in a transparent, plastic bin and placed my ballot on the machine. My fingers trembled as the box sucked up my ballot, never to be seen again.

Walking out of the gym, I was relieved and empowered. I took the “I Voted” sticker and proudly adhered it to my sweater. Through the double-door, I saw my mom waiting for me with open arms. I felt like a real woman. A real woman with power.

It was hard to believe that less than 100 years ago, I would not have been granted the right to vote.  My voice would not have been heard. Passion, gratitude and equality filled my whole       body—from the tingling of my toes, to the pounding of my full, hefty heart.

I felt humbled to take advantage of the 19th amendment and to represent other teenagers who were not yet eligible to vote.

I encourage everyone to be politically involved and to not be afraid to voice your opinions. Your opinions matter. Whether you are eight, 18 or 88, you are never too young or too old to develop your own opinions.

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