I remember it like it was yesterday. I stood in line in the basement of Ogg Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus for three hours. I was 19 years old and I was waiting to cast my first ballot in a presidential election. Finally I reached the head of the line and I entered the booth. I reached up and pulled the lever for Mike Dukakis.
I was thrilled. I felt energized. I had been involved in politics since I was a child when my mom took my brother and I to hand out pamphlets for George McGovern in 72. I had been involved in local elections, handing out match books for a judicial campagin. My mom also worked on a local assembly race in the 80s. I had a Mondale-Ferraro bumpersticker on my backpack in high school. I worked as a page in the State Assembly in college. It was in my blood.
I was dissapointed when Dukakis lost but I was happy that I had voted.
Since that time, I have continued to exercise my right to vote. I have made my voice heard. I've voted for the winner and the loser, but I've voted.
My faith in the political process took a hit in the 2000 election but it survived. I like knowing that I count, that my voice means something. I have called and written my congressmen and senators to let them know my stances on issues. But to me, there is nothing like casting your vote for a candidate that you support.
So on October 23rd at 4 pm, I went to City Hall to cast my vote in this historic election. There was no one waiting, I was able to vote with no problems. I placed my ballot in a sealed envelope which will be counted on election day. In a way I was sad to have voted early, I love the energy of election day. But I knew there would be high turnout today and I had visions of standing in line with a cranky toddler. Voting early made the most sense for me.
I voted for Barak Obama. I believe that he will be the best leader for our country. But even if you don't believe the same way I do, you need to vote. You need to have your voice counted.
So stand up for yourself and for your country. VOTE! There is nothing like it.