Fulfilling a Lifelong Goal and the Need to Vote

On Tuesday, November 4, I was able to vote in an election for the first time in my life. I voted during 3rd period on that half day, seeing my neighbors and basking in their congratulation was great.  It is something I have been waiting to do my whole life. Since I lived in Hanover, I have gone to many of the elections that HHS hosts. As a younger student, I enjoyed walking into the old high school gym with my mom to vote. She would always let me go in the booth with her, sometimes letting me fill in the circles. I even sometimes took advantage of that opportunity by voting independent of her thoughts. I enjoyed watching the results on TV in the evening. The whole spectacle of it always amazed me and I couldn’t wait to start. When i first voted, it wasn’t as surreal of a moment as i had expected, but it was great nonetheless. I have always been into politics. (Mr. Mahoney, if you’re reading this, I really wish I could have taken AP Gov in one of the last two years but it never fit into my schedule.) My mom is a town employee so I even take interest in small-scale Hanover politics.

It's easy to make excuses, but as a citizen I think we exercise our right to vote, even when we're young
It’s easy to make excuses, but as a citizen I think we should exercise our right to vote, even when we’re young

Voting is a right and just as we have the right to vote, we can exercise our right to abstain from voting. Often, among the youth and my peers, it is out of disinterest or laziness that they do not vote. I understand only seniors born before the election could register, but I would feel confident projecting that my fellow Class of 2015ers will not be in a rush to register when they turn 18. Maybe not ASAP, but I’d recommend to all of them that they should register. It’s a simple process, one slip of paper and a signature in a big book. You can go to the Town Clerk’s office and the main office may still have stuff  for it. It’s really worth it, there were some close races in Massachusetts this year, locally and statewide. Some of us may live in Hanover and/or Massachusetts forever. We have the chance now to start shaping the future we want. Now if you have an opinion, you are a registered voter so you can influence something and now you matter more to politicians. It’s a well-known saying, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

Part of what made my experience great was that this was a juicy election: governor, a couple of good ballot questions, and other relevant positions to be voted on. Without divulging anything else, I did vote for Charlie Baker as governor and it was cool to see him win such a close race, especially because the South Shore returns were some of the last to come in and possibly put him over the top. I had mixed results in terms of the success on offices and ballot questions I voted for. But unfortunately some elections in Hanover can be meaningless. Don’t fool yourself, in presidential elections, your vote in ultra-liberal Massachusetts doesn’t matter. The Democratic candidate is taking all those electoral college votes and doesn’t give Massachusetts a second thought. The heavy conservative stronghold in Massachusetts is the South Shore and it can get discouraging watching the Democratic slaughter.

It’s elections like this week’s where moderate conservatives duke it out with liberals that make your vote worthwhile. A republican definitely could take down Bill Keating; one probably will but this year Chapman didn’t have the funding. Massachusetts has a thing for giving Republicans a close chance at governor, unlike may other positions. Maybe another candidate in the Scott Brown mold will come along and put up a fight for a senate seat.

Sometimes, Massachusetts seems so predetermined, but that’s not always case. When those years come where seats are up-for-grabs, you’ll wish you had a vote. Locally there are lots of changing developments on the South Shore scene and it’s good to have a say in those. For a political enthusiast like myself, voting is great and I’ve been waiting for years. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to participating in as many elections as I can. I implore my fellow HHS peers to register to vote. It is an important practice for any American citizen. It is our future and our friends’ futures we can help to determine. It is good for us to hold political officials accountable and to take stances in issues facing our state and our nation. It’s an easy process to become a participant in the greatest democracy in the world.

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