I love to vote. The first election that I voted was in 1972, George McGovern vs. Richard Nixon. I was 18 years old and really felt like a grown-up, maybe for the first time in my life. I can remember that I was timid in giving my name to the elections clerk, perhaps they wouldn’t really let me vote after all. But lo and behold, I was given a ballot, stepped into the booth, pulled the curtain around me, looked at that ballot and thought “wow”. How empowering it was to pick up a pencil and declare my vote because I believed then, and still do today, that my vote matters.
Over the years, I have not missed a single election. When my children were young, along they would come to witness the process at the polls. Many lively discussions took place around the dinner table as they began to understand the political process. I loved that they had opinions on who the best candidate was, and that their classrooms held mock elections.
It is heartwarming to see that both of my children bring their children to the polls to witness our right to vote. Generation after generation has the honor of casting a ballot, a privilege and an honor.
Several years ago, I made the decision to vote by Absentee Ballot. I loved the idea of taking my time to cast my vote, especially on the referendum questions. Does no mean yes or does yes mean no? As I’ve gotten older, I’m a bit slower, and want to make sure that I am understanding the questions and making good decisions. I pretty much know which candidate I will be supporting, and even in the comfort of my home, I still get that “wow” feeling that my vote counts.
For those of us that are comfortable using technology, requesting an Absentee Ballot seems pretty seamless. For those who are a novice around technology, it can be a bit intimidating. The National Digital Equity Center has created a webinar to help you navigate Requesting Your Absentee Ballot Online. Our instructors are also available to work with you one-on-one if you would like some assistance.
This year’s ballot is especially important to me. It includes a referendum question for funding for better broadband in Maine. Many of you know that I’ve been advocating for broadband for a very long time. I believe that we need to connect all the homes and businesses that do not have access to broadband today, increase capacity of existing networks, and teach people how to use it.
Today, I ask that you Vote Yes on 1 for Better Broadband. It’s important, and we need to do everything we can to make it happen.
But more importantly, I ask that you vote, in person or by absentee ballot. Your vote matters. Always.