With tensions on the rise as we anxiously await the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, I am proud to say that I voted for the first time. After four years filled with chaos and turmoil that has negatively impacted the lives of millions across our country, I am proud to have voted for a future that I hope will ensure the rights and respect of all members of our nation. Now more than ever, it was important that each of us exercise our right to vote. I am proud to see a significant increase in the number of people within my age group that participated in voting during this election, including myself. As a first time voter, I would say that I had a very smooth experience.
At the time of the last presidential election, I was only seventeen and could not participate in voting. With this being my first opportunity to vote in a presidential election, I made sure to register and hit the polls. Though I had registered prior to the day I voted, I find it important to share that Illinois offers same-day registration for voters. I chose to vote early because I was unsure of how long lines would be on election day. After grabbing a mask and my identification, I walked up to my polling place and was surprised to see that there was no line. Lucky for me, I was able to walk right in, fill out my information and vote within a matter of minutes. The process was very clear and straightforward, and I felt relieved because I now understand the voting process for future elections.
For those that chose not to vote in this election, I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision in elections to follow. Though you might have to wait in a line, the voting process is so simple. In addition, with the availability of mail-in ballots that many chose to fill out due to COVID-19, I cannot think of many reasons that someone would feel compelled not to vote when it was truly so accessible. It is important that everyone know your voice matters. Your vote matters.