There was a major uptick in midterm voting this cycle, and newly registered Rockets did not miss out on the action. According to Cincinnati.com, statewide turnout was the highest it had been since 1994.
For newly registered McNick seniors, it was their first opportunity to cast their ballots. Some were among the first at the polls when they opened statewide in Ohio at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
I packed my lunch for school on Monday night in preparation to leave the house early the next morning. At 6:15, my parents and I entered Willowville Elementary and joined a line of about 15 people. I had not been inside the school since my kindergarten days, and it felt like a full circle experience to walk in the doors to vote more than 12 years later. I even saw the name of my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Gingrich, on the wall before I entered the gym to vote. By the time the poll workers opened the doors just after 6:30, the line had grown out the door to over 30 people. I gave the older man at the table my ID and signed off to confirm I was who I said I was. Another poll worker handed me my ballot and I walked to an empty voting booth, read the directions, and began filling in the bubbles, much like I would on a multiple choice test. Upon completing both sides of the ballot, I placed it in the machine and left the gym. The whole process went without a hitch and I made my way to school for my weekly Student Council meeting feeling a sense of satisfaction with my first time voting behind me.
Senior Miranda Taylor arrived at her Batavia Township voting location when the polls opened. Taylor said, “I was nervous, but…the volunteers were really nice. They knew it was my first time and one lady said to not be scared to ask any questions, and they would explain it in detail…Standing in the line took about 15-20 minutes. There were tons of people there at 6:30, and I ended up leaving around 7. It took less than 5 minutes to actually vote because the ballot was short.”
Fellow senior Andrew Geers also joined the line at the Pierce Township Police & Fire Department around 6:30. Geers said, “I was excited that I could finally have a say in how our country runs. My dad and I both woke up early so we could vote before work and school. I also feel lucky because there are many people in this world that do not have the opportunity to vote in free elections. I felt proud to participate in my civic duty and proud to be a politically efficacious American.”
I believe that all eligible American citizens should exercise their right to vote. We need to understand that not everyone around the world is fortunate enough to have this right. No matter who we vote for or what our political ideology is, we must take advantage of the opportunity to make our concerns heard and our opinions count.
Though we all know our system is not perfect, we can continue to do our part in giving our say in making it work better by voting for what is in our best interest.
To register to vote online in Ohio, just visit the Secretary of State’s website and follow the easy step-by-step process.