The first of many “I Voted” stickers


Me in my car after voting, flaunting my “I voted” sticker

Mackenzie Shrum, Writer

I put on my circular sticker with the two simple words of “I Voted” with pride. A simple ride to Happy Apple Preschool was the start of having my own say in who leads and cares about my town, my school, and my state.

   I’ve always wanted to vote, ever since I was little. I distinctly remember my elementary school self waiting impatiently to vote for either Obama or McCain in the 2008 election. It was a mock election for elementary students but I took it very seriously. I didn’t know what they stood for but I knew what the president stood for and naively I thought I had a say in who the most powerful man in the country would be at the ripe age of seven. 

   Fast forward to the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump came at a time I was learning more and more about voting. At the age of thirteen, I wanted to vote because I was actually concerned with who got voted in. I was anxious and wished my voice could echo in a way that grown adults would listen. But with a voice so shrivel and young, the fact I couldn’t vote for who I wanted silenced an actual opinion. I was seventeen years old in 2020 when the candidates of Joe Biden and Donald Trump stormed through the nation. There was such a heavy emphasis on voting this year and all I could do was repeat the words of many without the contribution of actually voting. 

    Now, I’m eighteen years old in an odd year meaning I wouldn’t vote for president or governor my first time but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. These people would be running the show for my town and that made it almost more important in a way. The election felt personal and private, perfect for a first time voter. I did all my research before I went to vote and there were definitely some candidates I wasn’t the biggest fan of so I had some knowledge on who I was voting for. 

      I went to the wrong door at Happy Apple Preschool when I went to vote. A great start. I walked in alone at noon and it was completely empty besides a few grown adults eyeing me down knowing that I was new to the game. I walked in with my mask covering my uncomfortable grin as I walked over to the lady with the binder of pages that would hopefully carry my name. I fumbled with my purse searching for my ID, something I only had to do as a first year voter.  

     She asked me to sign my name in her index of voters and I had to sign my shaky name next to the pros that have done this before. They gave me this long receipt paper to put into the voting machine and I was immediately overwhelmed with familiar and unfamiliar names. It was nothing like I had expected. After the immediate stress, I finally decided on who I wanted to see represent Norwin and I put it through this machine that looked like a printer, got my sticker, and was on my way home. 

    None of the people I wanted to win won and at first I was kind of disappointed and bummed out. I felt as if my first time voting wasn’t that important if in the end, my vote didn’t go towards something better. I realize now that was silly of me and even if the odds weren’t in favor of the candidates I wanted, my vote still matters in the grand scheme of things. 

    It’s my voice, my choice, my vote that can exist and be taken into consideration. That’s what matters in the grand scheme of things. Voting was an experience that brought me solace from all the years of wanting to have a say in who leads and it will be an experience I will remember forever.