On No Longer Being a Vote-Virgin

Yup. I did it. 

Who knew such a small little action could make me feel so powerful…and intimidated. 
I’ll set the scene for you. 
It’s about 1:00 pm on Super Tuesday, and I’m rounding up all of my documentation and climbing into my mom’s minivan to go to our voting location– a local middle school. School was cancelled in my county as a result of projected high voter turnout, so that was a plus! (Sadly, my drama director thought it would still be nice to have a three hour musical rehearsal…) But anyways. As I was climbing in the car, my mind whirred, flinging around all of the facts and statistics and claims of all the candidate’s platforms. Not one for watching the seemingly soap-opera-y televised debates, I had to conduct my research on the candidates online via their websites, news articles, interviews, and a couple of no-shame “who should I vote for” quizzes. I must say… Sitting in the car, knowing I was only 10 mins away from casting out my virgin voice into the ring of endless political speculation and hubbub, I had second thoughts about my vote, and didn’t know what to think anymore. On the car ride over my mom got to talking about immigrant amnesty… And it was through that conversation that I realized who she was most likely voting for, which cast me further into my depression. 
Some of her points I agreed with… But others sounded old fashioned and insensitive. Upon pulling up to the polling place I wanted to cry tears of anger. 
But I went in, checked in, and my mother told the woman who was manning the main desk that “it’s her first time voting”, to which the woman replied “oh how exciting! I remember my first time…..!”
After I chose my ballot, I stood there in the secret voting station and took a long look at it. I thought about how some people have the nerve to say their vote didn’t/doesn’t matter…
Once I made my ballot all secret like, i walked over to the machine where two older male attendants were standing. Upon putting my ballot into the machine, one of the men spoke up and said “are you sure you’re old enough to be voting? Because you look like, 12”. 
I kinda glared at him and said “ha– funny.”
Normally, height jokes don’t affect me– it’s what he said next that made me miffed: “sure, I guess I’ll just have to take your word for it.”
Okay, holdup. Two things for you, ballot-tender guy:
1) obviously I’m not twelve because I friggin got my photo ID examined
2) If you’re “taking {anyone’s} word for it”, what are you doing at a polling station? 
What if I were 12? Gonna take my word for saying I’m 18? 
But perhaps my most favourite part of losing my vote-virginity was when I was leaving the polling area. Upon exiting the middle school, an elderly man was making his way up the sidewalk with a cane in both hands.
My mom asked if he needs any help getting inside, and asked him if he knew where the polling booths were. 
He looked at us and his face lit up with anger. He said “I know where they are– I just can’t get that far. Those damn bastards moved the booths further into the school” *Note: the past couple years the booths had been set up right in the front lobby where they were easily accessible)
My mom and I tried not to laugh as he continued: “…those dumbasses in the government are trying to screw us grown folks over. They will be getting a nasty letter from me!”
His spunk reminded my of my late grandfather. 
I couldn’t help but smile and hold the door open for him anyways. 
I had to go to rehearsal directly afterwards, but on the way I thought about all that had happened, what would happen later that night (in terms of vote counting) and how politics has almost become a vacuum for the American people. And I pretty much came to conclusions on three things:
1) the power of an educated vote is invaluable 
2) handicap accessibility is a must for all voting locations
3) America’s in for a helluva ride this presidential election season. 

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