I’ll admit it: I’ve never voted before. But here’s why I’m finally hitting the polls on Tuesday

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Midterm elections are only a few days away, and I feel I have to confess: I’m 22 years old, and I have never voted before in any kind of election.

I could have voted in the 2014 midterms, but I just didn’t feel informed enough about any of the candidates to hit the polls. And when the time came to register for the 2016 presidential election, I had already become cynical about the whole process.

I thought my vote wouldn’t matter that much. I saw my day off on Election Day as more of a vacation than a day to do my civic duty as a U.S. citizen.

But I finally registered to vote a few weeks ago — and not because Taylor Swift made me want to.

After not being inspired when it counted, I have seen the consequences to what apathy can do to a country. In 2016, the United States fell behind many other developed countries in voter turnout percentage.

On November 6, millions of Americans will be going to the polls to decide who will be take charge of Congress as well as the Senate for the rest of President Trump’s term. The results to the midterms will have national and global ramifications that will affect almost every American.

Regardless of who you end up voting for, actively taking part in the voting process is essential to keeping the fabric of our nation’s democracy strong.

We see what should be unforgettable tragedies appearing in the news cycle so often, that the average person can start to feel numb to the violence and suffering happening in our country and around the globe. It seems like the news we are routinely exposed to has left a divide between Americans about almost everything we hold sacred.

Over the past two years, I feel like I have received a crash course on why I was wrong to not vote. For a while, I felt like because I didn’t vote, I didn’t get to complain about the current political climate. But in reality, I learned that I should voice my concerns — and I should address those concerns by getting out to vote in future elections, rather than continuing to be a bystander to what is going on around me.

The midterms may not seem as glamorous and flashy as the presidential elections, but they are just as important. It is everyone’s opportunity to cast their vote to see who will represent their own individual state and community.

Believe me, I know that it can be difficult to find out who is running for what and all the different offices that are up for grabs. Just abstaining seems like the easier, obvious choice.

But take it from someone who has never voted before: the process isn’t as hard as you think it is. Read up on the issues. Get out there and vote, whoever you may be voting for. Your voice matters.

Where do I go to vote on Election Day?

You can use this link to find out your polling place based on your address.

Note that this will be based on the address at which you are registered to vote.

Where can I go to vote early?

You can vote early today (Friday, Nov. 2) from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 3) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at any of these 19 early voting locations in Mecklenburg County — map here:

  • Hal Marshall – 618 N College St
  • Elon Park Recreation Center – 11401 Ardrey Kell Rd
  • Beatties Ford Road Library – 2412 Beatties Ford Rd
  • Bette Rae Thomas Rec Center – 2921 Tuckaseegee Rd
  • Cornelius Town Hall – 21445 Catawba Ave
  • Hickory Grove Library – 5935 Hickory Grove Rd
  • Hornet’s Nest Pavilion – 6301 Beatties Ford Rd
  • Huntersville Town Hall – 101 Huntersville-Concord Rd
  • Independence Regional Library – 6000 Conference Dr
  • Main Library (Downtown) – 310 N Tryon St
  • Marion Diehl Recreation Center – 2219 Tyvola Rd
  • Matthews Library – 230 Matthews Station St
  • Mint Hill Library 6840 Matthews – Mint Hill Rd
  • Morrison Regional Library – 7015 Morrison Blvd
  • South County Regional Library – 5801 Rea Rd
  • Steele Creek Old Hollywood Video – 11130 S Tryon St
  • Sugar Creek Library – 4045 N Tryon St
  • University City Old Pier 1 – 8802 JW Clay Blvd
  • West Boulevard Library – 2157 West Blvd

What do I need to bring?

If you’re registered to vote, you don’t need to bring anything with you. Voter ID is not required.

If you’re not registered yet but plan to do same-day registration at one of the early voting sites, you’ll need to fill out a form and bring proof of residence (a driver’s license, a photo ID issued by a government agency, or a copy of a utility bill or a bank statement).

If you’re a college student (and over 18 years old), you can present your college ID card along with any of the aforementioned documents proving that you live in the county.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote in North Carolina?

You can fill out this quick form to verify your voter registration status.

Note: North Carolina does NOT automatically register you to vote when you visit a government agency (for instance, if you went to the DMV to get your NC ID or changed your mailing address).

If you’ve recently moved and your address has changed, you’ll need to update your voter registration status. Ditto if you’ve changed voting parties.

Where can I learn more before Election Day?

Plenty of places, but we recommend the Charlotte Observer and RockTheVote.

1 COMMENT

  1. Don’t forget there are elections in charlotte every year. 2019 will have school board and city council and mayor. Don’t just vote in even-numbered years for the sexy stuff like president and Congress. The local races affect you way more and are in odd-numbered years. Congrats on voting for the first time.

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