Opinion: Casting our first votes

How it feels to finally be 18 in today's political climate


Julia Sheedy, Staff Writer

For the past few years, politics has dominated our country, forcing every slight issue to transform into a partisan one that divides the country completely. In this polarizing time for American politics, every vote matters. Millennials and newly 18-year-olds tend to be the ones who believe that their votes don’t matter, as the electoral college drowns our voices out. As I turned 18 this past September, the feeling of finally being able to cast my own vote and encourage others to do the same was so powerful.

I’ve always been interested in politics. I’ve been to protests, rallies, meetings and more just about issues going on in the government. However, too many people in this country use their voices in that way, but rarely go out and use their voice to actually vote.

In recent years, having your own strong opinion on divisive issues has been beyond important, as everyday events can become political in the blink of an eye.

In the past few elections, it has been evident that no one can agree on anything. I was not able to vote in 2016, but I know that the election and the events in the months that followed reminded Americans that their vote matters.

In this most recent midterm election, many citizens were determined to vote to have their voices present in the House and the Senate, and as a result over 113 million people voted. This year was a record-breaking high for the number of people who came out and voted.

Although this new record seems promising, this is only 49 percent of our country. That means a little less than half of our entire country voted this year, and that was considered good. With countless celebrities speaking out on behalf of voter turnout, you would think people would listen. If Beyoncé tells you to go out and vote, you have to vote… like, legally.

This year, I was beyond excited to be able to vote. I took a friend and went to the polls after school on the first day of early voting. I was given this right to use my voice in the government, and it feels so amazing to be able to have a say in what goes on for our country.