I grew up in “the Oldest Summer Resort in America,” also known as Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. The population of 6,000 more than triples during the summer, drawing in celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon – and Mitt Romney.
Romney owns a summer home on our lake and is often seen biking, boating, or dining in local restaurants with his family.
I remember being told voting is important. It is our civil duty. I was thrilled to be turning 18 because I could finally make my voice heard. The problem was, the only ballots that year were for boring town things. I didn’t vote.
This summer I noticed Wolfeboro’s regular tourist rush was different. I waited longer to get an ice cream and to park my car. During our 4th of July parade, residents lined the streets to watch, as usual. This year, though, more than 20,000 people covered every inch of sidewalk. Governor Romney always walks in the parade, but this year, people actually cared.
I knew my third year at STU would be different. Everyone wanted to know who I supported and how I felt about November’s election. I was sick of the whole election buzz and couldn’t wait for it to be over. However, society crept into my thoughts, reminding me to vote. But it’s not like my ballot really mattered.
The week before election day was stressful. I wanted to vote, but ditching classes and driving back to NH seemed crazy. Thankfully my impulsive personality and understanding professors allowed me to register and vote in my first presidential election.
The day of the vote, I stared at the long paper ballot. It wasn’t until this moment that I fully understood why my teachers, parents, and those annoying TV ads stressed the importance of voting. I was told by several profs and STU friends to “make the right choice,” but that’s easy to say when it’s not your own country.
I’ve watched my parents and friends’ parents lose their jobs. I spent my summer visiting people I consider family in their pop-up camper. Weekend camping trips now became their daily reality after losing their home last year. They told me to make sure I voted despite living in Canada. The month my dad’s company laid off seven workers he reminded me to vote. It’s important.
As I stared at the ballot, I knew my vote wouldn’t make a difference. The outcome wouldn’t change because a 20-year-old girl drove home from Canada to vote. But it is important. Standing for something, voting for what you believe, and exercising the right so many people fought for means more than any circle darkened by a black pen.