It’s that time again. It is the time of year where your favorite community newspaper reserves a special barrel of ink to remind you to cast your ballot in the upcoming election. Have no fear, we’re going to do just that.
I remember the first time I voted. With a late November birthday, I had to wait until I was almost 19 years old to cast my first vote. It was sure to be an iconic moment that marked a special time period in my life, or so I thought.
I made my way into my former elementary school cafeteria and proudly showed my driver’s license. After filling out a short form, I was given a card and told to pick a booth. That was easy!
I stuck my card in the slot and I was off to the races – political races, that is.
A check mark here, a check mark there … Before I knew it, I had voted in my first election. I gave the card back to the election workers and took the sticker I had waited 18 years to earn.
As I walked back to my car, I thought about the simplicity of it all. After researching each candidate and amendment thoroughly, I had made my voice heard in my country’s government. Why didn’t it feel so important?
I don’t think the magnitude of my vote really hit until I was watching the results unfold on the news that evening. As Georgia’s counties continued to turn blue and red, I realized what my vote truly meant.
Since that moment, I have made the conscious effort to participate in each election and this year marked another important milestone in my voting history. This year, I participated in the early voting process.
Who knew they would give you that special sticker on a different day of the month?
Early voting is done differently. For me, I didn’t have to wait in any lines and instead of going to the polling place I’ve come to know and love, I made my way into a government-owned building. I was able to vote on my own time.
At the time of this publication, early voting has ended and the county is getting ready for Election Day on Tuesday. This is your last chance to have your voice heard. It matters.
Jackie Gutknecht is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-728-1409. Twitter: @jackieg1991