What Was The First Election You Voted In?
Allow me to distract you from the tension of today's midterms with this open thread...
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty anxious about today’s mid-term election. There’s so much riding on it. Like…everything. It’s going to be a looooong day.
I figured once we’ve all voted (please vote if you haven’t yet!) we could use a little distraction—voting-related though this bit of distraction might be. (I just can’t fully depart from this topic today.) So here’s an open thread for you. What was the first election you voted in, and what did it mean to you?
Me? In November, 1984, I was newly 19, so it was my first time voting. It was also my first time conducting man-on-the-street interviews for one of my journalism classes. I was a sophomore at SUNY Albany with a major in English major and a minor in journalism.
Stationed a few hundred feet from the campus polling place, I found it incredibly awkward to accost voters as they emerged to ask if they were willing to share who they voted for, and how they felt about their candidate’s prospects. I absolutely hated that part of the job. Over the years, as I got more seasoned as a reporter, I grew accustomed to interviewing random people on the scene.
For a few years in the 90s, I had a side-gig doing “legwork” for The New York Times Metro section. They’d beep me at all hours and send me out to do reporting on breaking stories, mostly in downtown Manhattan. When my pager went off I’d grab a reporter’s notebook, screw up my courage, approach people, get the quotes I needed, and then call in my notes to a tape room at the Times, reciting the punctuation, too. It helped me become less shy as a reporter, but I’ve still always felt awkward approaching people randomly in that way. (Open threads are so much easier!)
Anyway, at the end of Election night ‘84, I was shocked to learn Mondale had lost. I’d been so sure everyone in the world agreed that four years of tough guy Ronald Reagan was enough. Although I was disillusioned that night, I’ve never missed a presidential or mid-term election since, and many years I’ve gotten involved in canvassing—knocking doors, making phone calls, texting voters. I can’t imagine not voting in an election.
Okay, your turn. In the comments, tell me about the first election voted in, and what it meant to you.
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