Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rock the Vote -- It’s your Right!

Ask any American and they’re likely to remember the first time they voted, especially if that experience happened to coincide with a Presidential election.  Mine didn’t, but that didn’t keep me from voting.  For even if there isn’t a new (or current) President to (re)elect, every two years the U.S House of Representatives changes and every 6 years the Senate.  In short, every year our local, state and federal government changes in some manner through new representatives.  That’s important to consider, every first Tuesday in November, America’s Election Day, we vote not just for representatives on the national level, but also state and local level.  Even the new sheriff in town is voted on that day for his/her term.  New laws are voted on – should the county or state change its position on parking laws for example.

I was 18, the legal age to vote in the U.S. and proudly went to the designated voting location in my small town in Ohio, showed my voter registration card and driver’s license, walked to the voting machine and exercised my right to have the U.S. government hear my opinion through my vote.  It’s an invigorating experience knowing you have done your part for democracy and freedom.

But since then, for one reason or another, when it comes time to vote for the next President, I have been outside the country.  Fortunately, the U.S. government has a plan for this, absentee ballots.  These ballots can be used even if you’re not outside the U.S. but not at your registered voting location on Election Day.  You could live in Orlando, FL but be attending school or working in Chicago, IL causing you to obtain an absentee ballot.

While I will always vote, research the candidates and their positions and learn about the proposed laws, there is a part of me that misses being able to vote in person.  There’s camaraderie at the voting stations.  Townspeople, neighbors, friends turn out there to also cast their ballot.  People are excited over the anticipated outcome.  Discussions are lively but never coercive, nor are you asked once you’ve voted who you voted for.  That’s something Americans just don’t ask, all we care about is, did you vote.  In short, it’s a piece of Americana – one more example of the American spirit in action.

So, come November 6, I’ll be watching with interest from Abuja the elections and might even forego a night of sleep to learn when the rest of my fellow Americans learn who our 47th president will be.  And to me, that’s what is most exciting of all about voting – knowing we Americans have chosen.

1 comment:

  1. I don't joke with my vote. I cast my vote when its voting time. My vote is my right and i encourage others to vote as well. I wrote something about this @ telling people to exercise their civic right while they earn