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My experience as a first time voter

Posted: November 17, 2016 5:22 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Henry Kerfoot is a Camden High School Senior and Editor on the Palmetto Leaf Staff.

Normally, Election Day is on the first Tuesday of November, and because the first day of November fell on a Tuesday, I would have been too young to vote -- 17 years and 364 days too young. Then, to my joy, I learned that the date in which we elect our public officials was moved to the second Tuesday of November. This made it where I was now eligible to vote. I was elated. 

This year would mark the first time that I would have say in who would represent my ideals as an American. I would get lend my voice to thousands of others in the voting process. I have always been told my parents and educators that it was my duty as an American citizen to vote for the people who seem most qualified to hold office and run our government.

On voting day, my mother and I left for the polls. She was complaining about her past inconveniences in the long lines of her voting past and “how that is just a part of voting.” She recalled her first time voting and how she waited for hours just to cast her ballot. Nevertheless, I was prepared for these long lines. I even looked forward to them as a shared part of the process.

When we reached our destination, there was no line. None at all. My mother, of course, was pleased with the line situation, but I was l little disappointed because I wanted the full effect of voting. We walked in to Camden Elementary and when straight to the registration table. I went before my mother and as I handed the lady my Voter Registration Card, she giggled and thought it was my mother’s. Thus is the curse of being short. She thought I was like some eight-year-old kid going with his mommy to vote. This was my second disappointment of the day. No line. Mistaken age identity.

I was then shown to the little voting booth thing and began the process. On the first page of the ballot, as many of you long-time and long eligible voters know, there is an option that automatically selects your votes for straight-party tickets. I mistook it was a way of showing what political party you identified with, so I made the selection based off that. I then realized my mistake and the stupid computer took the joy of clicking all of the choices for me.  I was so upset. I wanted to do that myself. There is something so satisfying with clicking each individual option. Once I realized my error, I had to go back and change some votes because, in fact, I did not want to vote straight ticket. 

After I finished casting my votes, I went to retrieve, arguably, the best part about voting--the “I Voted” sticker. To my sheer disappointment, the women passing the stickers was out of them. The single best part of voting, gone. Check disappointment number four.

Do not get me wrong. I am glad I voted. Proud of the fact, actually. The whole experience was simply not what I expected that it would be. I do not really have anything to complain about, even though not all of the candidates I selected were victorious. I guess it is just like turning 18. It is supposed to be a momentous turning point in one’s life, but on that date, you just don’t really feel any different. Life goes on, and the next time the polls are open, I will be there. Hopefully, I will get a sticker.

Henry Kerfoot is a Camden High School Senior and Editor on the Palmetto Leaf Staff. 


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