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First Time Voters

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Christy Blevins

With this vital presidential election coming up, thousands of newly aged voters are preparing to voice their opinion, I am one of them.

I’ve voted in a small state election before, but never one of this caliber. This election chooses the leader of our country. I’m not quite as worried as I know who I am voting for and who I hope will stay in office, but what about the other first time voters? Surely there’s some out there who are confused, and dare I say panicked. I admit I’m even scared my vote isn’t going to count.

In regards to voting, I’m excited, as I know a lot of my friends are. My roommate just got her voter registration card for the first time and jumped around showing everyone. It’s an exciting rite of passage in the United States to be considered an adult with an opinion. But how do you choose candidates if you’re on the fence, how do you even register to vote, where do you vote?  Are you even enthusiastic about the actual politics or just being an adult?

The 2012 election has been barely about the issues, but more about the party politics.  Yes, there have been many debates, but no, the candidates have yet to really give solutions to problems facing our young generation. I’m frankly tired of the political propaganda and ads. If I didn’t feel a duty to vote and try to change the country, I wouldn’t be voting at all.

I feel disconnected; I’m sure the rest of my generation feels the same. The candidates and campaign are geared towards us, so how do we become informed? Get out in the world. Research your candidate. Use credible, unbiased sources to get your information and don’t just pay attention to the name calling, card stacking, and other propaganda on the television. Get involved in any local debate sessions or information sessions. And dare I say call your parents if they are into politics. I know my dad always has something to say.

A major question for a lot of new voters, including me, is how to register to vote. Well, you can always find the volunteers around the college campus with their clip boards pushing you to register. Doesn’t that creep you out a little bit? You can always register to vote online; a helpful website to do this rockthevote.com.  Maybe you’re already registered and don’t remember.

I’m from North Carolina, so I’ve constantly been running around trying to figure out how I’m physically going to vote. Do I have to fill out an absentee ballot? How about driving 2 ½ hours to vote on November 6? So what then? Luckily for me, I can attend an early voting day in NC during fall break. Those of you who can’t however, I encourage you to fill out an absentee ballot and mail it in. Don’t be lazy; take the five to ten minutes it takes to fill one out.

Where do you vote? Many schools or community centers are used as designated places for voting. To find one close to here check out the website Vote 411, or ask around. Know where you want to vote beforehand. I don’t think it will be fun to drive/walk around on the Tuesday of voting looking for a sign that says “Vote Here Today!” That might be stressful and a waste of time.

Last but not least, bring an ID. I know the policies to vote in NC, but what about those of you in Virginia or other states? Voting policies and identification policies are different in every state. Be informed; simply Google it.

Being a new voter seems less exciting to our generation due to the propaganda. I have to make myself be excited and informed about the politics, even if I don’t like politics. I want to know what the President is going to change and do if re-elected.  Our voices count. Even if the state you vote in doesn’t swing toward your party, at least you got out there. The polls and statistics will show that you voted and voiced your opinion. As cliché as it is, every vote counts, don’t be intimidated by registering and scared off by absentee ballots like I was. Find a means to vote whether it’s early voting, or sending in an absentee ballot.