Turning 18: what is the biggest responsibility?

A+picture+of+myself+posing+with+an+%22I+voted%22+sticker

courtesy of Veronica Suraci

A picture of myself posing with an “I voted” sticker

Heather Suraci, Editor-in-chief

When I turned 18 I was excited to finally be a legal adult and take on new responsibilities. I could finally sign my own permission slips, drive past 11:00 p.m., legally drive more than one friend in the car, and most importantly vote. When I was a kid I would always go with my parents to the voting booths and they let me push the voting buttons for them. I thought it was so adult-like of them to be able to vote for people who they believed could do what’s best for our government.

I turned 18 the first week of July. A few days after my birthday was the primary election. I was so excited to vote for the first time that I drove myself to the voting area for my district first thing in the morning. Because of COVID-19 instead of the voting booth with all the buttons, votes were relegated to paper ballots. It was quite different and much more tedious than the booth (I would hate to be the person that tallies everything). Nonetheless, I filled out my paper ballot, sealed it up and handed it to the vote collectors. I felt so empowered that I voted for people who I believed would do a good job in government.

Although some may argue that voting doesn’t matter, every vote is truly significant. The law does not require citizens to vote, but voting is a very important part of any democracy. Citizens vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas, and the leaders support the citizens’ interests. There are two special rights only for U.S. citizens: voting in federal elections and running for federal office. Also, it is crucial to consider that a vote for what you believe could be what thousands of others believe in. When you truly believe in a cause or political agenda you should be able to express this by voting.

Although there are various things to be excited about when you turn 18, voting is by far the most important. With the upcoming presidential election coming up, I urge newly 18-year-olds to register to vote as this is truly the most significant responsibility that comes with turning 18.