A first experience like no other: voting in the 2018 midterm election

On November 6th the time had come for the United State’s midterm election.  According to the US Constitution, in order to be able to vote, you must be a citizen, meet your state’s residency requirements, and you must be 18 years old. The last part is key for many college students on the SCSU campus. For freshman (and some sophomores) last week’s midterm elections were the first election that they were eligible to vote for.

While there were many places around the St. Cloud area, SCSU students who lived on campus found the easy privilege to vote in the Glacier room in Atwood.

Students Matt Auvil, Bethanie Barrios, and Anna Panek shared their first-time experiences, voting in this November election.

Matt Auvil, Freshman:

For myself, I found this process of voting to be extremely easy. Being that I was pre-registered in my residence hall I found that all I had to do was just give a few details and I saw the nice woman was printing my receipt to sign and I moved next to another gal who gave me my ballot. It was a very fast process of getting checked in and getting the ballot that I always assumed would take much longer than what I had to do.

Afterward came the format of the ballot itself, I thought that it would be more of a tech-based system where it would be on a tablet or a computer of some kind. What it really was a pen and paper ballot, something I thought was becoming more obsolete but it was what we used in our format.  I thought it was a simple and easy form of voting all I had to do next was turn in my ballot and get my sticker.

I take pride in voting, I think I really am helping to make a change in our politics and our countries view in what we are moving towards. I plan on voting from now on in each election that I can be in.

Bethanie Barrios, Sophomore:

I grew up in a house with a mother as a veteran. So while growing up, voting and exercising that right has always been something that I was encouraged to do. It then evolved to be an event I wanted to be a part of. This desire grew even stronger as a child, after seeing Obama being elected into office in 2008.

In the 2016 presidential election, when I was 17 on election day, I was 6 days off from being able to vote which was very frustrating for me. So, excitement and anticipation would be understatements for how I felt finally getting the chance to vote in this midterm election. I changed my personal plans to make sure I could vote on November 6, became a leader encouraging others to vote alongside me, and even canceled a show I produce on Tuesday nights not only so I could vote, but to make sure my crew could as well.

It was an interesting experience for me when I stepped into the polling center on campus. I arrived at around 3 pm and there were little to no other voters there. This was a surprise to me, for I had always foreseen voting day as being a big event with a long line of people and lots of conversation. I was mistaken and even slightly disappointed, to say the least.

However, when the ballot was handed to me and when I filled the oval circles next to the many names, I felt a sense of empowerment. I felt that I finally had a say of who was going to take charge not only in my state but in my country as well.

So, while certainly, the day itself was not how I dreamed it would be, the opportunity to have my voice heard in some form was a gift. I felt like I had a chance to change the way things are being done in this country. With that being said, I will happily continue to exercise my right to vote in the future.

Anna Panek, Freshman:

As a college freshman myself, this year was the first year I was able to vote. I voted for the second time last Tuesday; only because I voted in the primaries back in August.

Anna Panek, freshman, sharing a photo after her first official vote. Picture taken by Anna Panek.

Voting for the first time changed my view on life. No longer did I feel like I was living in my parents’ world. I began to take more ownership in my community and my representatives. I found myself spending hours of research time before the election listening to what the candidates stood for and how they have acted on their beliefs in the past.

Conclusion:

Some students didn’t vote because they felt their voice didn’t matter and this year’s midterms were some of the closest elections in history. No matter your party affiliation, or lack thereof, it is important to vote. The results of the election were shared the next day and either made some people happy or very upset. No matter what party has control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, or the White House, it is important to remember that we are all Americans. Now that most of Generation Z have the right to vote, we must use that privilege to better our country’s future. We all have the civic duty, the privilege, and the honor to vote.

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