‘I Had Been Taking My Right to Vote for Granted’: First Time Voters Reflect on Election Day

Ali Beardslee

My roommate and I were so excited to exercise our civic duties for the first time that we voted early. I quadruple checked my ballot because I didn’t want my vote to be wasted.

— Ali Beardslee, 19, Houston

Morgan Chaudry

It was quite intimidating. I went to a small, rural township office, and there were only about 20 or 30 people in the crowded building. No one seemed happy to be there besides me, and I was the youngest person there by at least 20 years.

— Morgan Chaudry, 18, Port Huron, Mich.

I was excited to vote for the first time because I think America’s youngest voices often go unheard or ignored. We are smarter than people think.

My biggest fear is that my absentee ballot didn’t make it back to the county clerk and I didn’t really vote in this election. I wish there was a way to confirm that my vote has been counted, that I have done my part in making a difference.

— Griffin Lawler, 18, Waldwick, N.J.

The experience was very smooth. I made sure to come early before classes, and I was very quickly given my ballot and sent to wait in line for the booth. I felt a sense of togetherness; it was wonderful to see people from every walk of life coming together and weighing in on their future.

— Naglis Bukauskas, 19, Brooklyn, N.Y.

I recently got married and my husband is not an American citizen. He contributes to our city both financially and personally but does not have the right to vote. I realized I had been taking my right to vote for granted. Not everyone is as lucky.

—Rachel Diskin, 30, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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