My first time voting
This is a guest post from ATA’s summer intern, Jay Motheral.
Voting was something that I always had a desire to do, from a young age even. I have always had an understanding of elections and how well and truly consequential they are. We live in a representative democracy, the people we vote for down to the city level are there to advocate on issues for us. With my interest in politics from a young age, this was one thing in life I had definitely been waiting patiently to do. My first ever election was in 2018, where I voted for the first time at my local library for the midterm elections. I had been laser focused on the candidates, in particular the Senate race with Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke. I had researched both candidates and also the other races for State Senate and the other row offices that were going to be on the ballot that cycle. I was amped up to vote, I was ready to put my voice out there.
When I arrived at the polling station, I was a bit nervous. I thought to myself that this felt weird, I was now a contributing member of the country by participating in a contentiously close election. It was almost surreal to me understanding that my vote could impact a lot of issues. I went into the polling station, checked all the boxes for the people I wanted to vote for and went off back home. The act itself, for me, is very simple and straightforward. But voting itself had more of a solemn tone for me than anything else.
The interesting thing though, was I could not stop thinking about what my vote would contribute towards. I was thrilled to have been a part of the democratic process, but realizing to myself that: my vote impacts actual people. We tend to think in politics sometimes that when we vote, we are putting people up who might not do much or might pass one or two things. But our votes have consequences and can affect policies for generations, some people do not realize that. But sitting in my room thinking about this, it all sunk in for me. Voting for the first time had to have been one of the most profound things I had done. Understanding that my actions can impact a wide range of public policy and people was very profound for me.