I voted for the first time—and hated it

David Hancock, Staff Writer

I registered to vote in February. My birthday is October 29, and voting day is in November, yet there I was, registering to vote eight months before I needed to. I was so excited, so proud, and so happy to finally be old enough to vote. I vowed that I would closely follow all of the candidates and the news in politics and that I would vote with pride and certainty and help to change the course of America and the world!

I was so young, so foolish, so naïve. I know better now.

I broke my vows to stay involved in the presidential race. It wasn’t because I stopped caring or stopped trying, but because everything was scandal this and scandal that and emails and tax records and grabbing and rigging and it was just too much negativity for me to handle.

When I got my ballot, the first thing I noticed was that it was the same paper and font as the benchmark tests from elementary school. So even before I read anything, I was already getting feelings of anxiety, stress, and wishing I studied harder. It felt like a test, but with no right answers.

Not a lot of people seem to realize this, but on November 8 we voted for a lot more than just who will be president. We also elected people for the Senate, the House of Representative, the mayor’s office, city council, council this, commissioner of that, chief of blah, secretary of whatever, and so on. I hadn’t even heard of most of the people I was supposed to be electing, and I was supposed to trust them with running my city, my state, and my country?

The only fact I knew about most of the candidates was their party affiliation, and only because that was right on the ballot. Was that supposed to be enough for me? It’s sad that America is so divided now that we will blindly elect someone because of their party allegiance, not because the candidates themselves are qualified.

After I got through the pages of names that I’d never heard of, I got to the pages of propositions that I’d never heard of. This was the worst part of the ballot. I am amazed at how something can be so vague, so specific, and so unclear all at the same time. I don’t know if lawmakers actually speak like that or if they are trying to confuse voters, but either way, I was lost.

I will admit, the pages in the back where each proposition was explained helped out a lot ― but still, it was hard for me to really believe all that was being said. I feel bad saying it, but this election has given me serious trust issues with the leaders of our country. Everyone lies. The media, the politicians, the internet, Twitter ― all have lied before and all will lie again so it’s hard for me to believe that they weren’t lying to me on the ballot.

I hated this election. I hated the negativity, I hated the deflecting, and I hated the lies. I firmly believe that there is no reason to lie, ever. Yet, our politicians do it so often that we hardly even notice it anymore. They lie repeatedly and they lie casually. They act like lying to the American people is no big deal, like it’s ok.

There is a serious problem with our elections when a young and hopeful voter can be so discouraged by an election to the point where he can’t even trust his leaders anymore. It’s supposed to be better.