My First Time

Howard University News Service Voting is considered a privilege. People vote to have their voices heard in the selection of government leaders. Whether the vote is for a mayor, a governor, a senator, or even a president, these politicians are expected to represent their constituents. This presidential election is monumental for many reasons, not the least of which is the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama as the first viable black presidential candidate. As a result, voter registration has increased and people are more determined to vote. When I was younger, I had always thought about having a black president but I did not think it would be possible. I am originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., but I am registered to vote in Delaware, the first state, where my parents have recently moved. On my way home, there were a great number of signs posted on people’s lawns. Of course, there were some lawns with signs for the Obama-Biden ticket, but most of them for the McCain-Palin ticket. I was not surprised to see so many people for the Republicans because Delaware is a largely rural state. Tuesday was the first time I voted, and it was an exhilarating feeling. The day started out gloomy and rainy, not the type of setting to match most people’s feelings about Election Day. My father and I drove to Dover High School to vote around 11 a.m. to find the line outside the school. We were not discouraged at all, but my father wasn’t willing to wait out in the rain. The people on the line came equipped with their umbrellas, unfazed by the weather. An hour later, we came back to find the line had disappeared. I walked right in with my head held high, ready to cast my first vote. There were just six voting machines at this polling station, and the voters and the clerks all seemed to know each other. They all greeted each other in the friendliest terms. A clerk took my ID and gave me my voting card. I signed it and was directed to the voting booth. I was a bit confused about how to use the booth, but the clerk provided quick assistance. I closed the curtains, took a deep breath, and just stood there in amazement for a minute. I said to myself, “Wow, I am voting for the first time and it will be for a black man.” I looked at the ballot for another minute. There definitely was not a doubt in my mind about who I was voting for; I was just soaking it all in. I made my vote and left the booth. As soon as I stepped out of the school, the sun began to peek from the clouds a bit, and I felt accomplished, as if I handed in a major project and received a grade of A-plus. I am very honored and privileged to have been able to vote in this presidential election. It has made people think that their wildest aspirations can be obtained. At least, that’s how I now feel.