Since high school, I have been waiting for the day that I would be able to vote. During the 2008 election, I watched as the results were displayed on almost every channel. Our school held a mock election to demonstrate the process of voting. During my senior year, I participated in another mock election in my government class. We used the actual polling booths set up at the school.

But those were  not the real thing. My vote did not go towards the actual election. When I turned eighteen in 2010, there were both city and statewide elections taking place while I was residing in Houston, Texas. However, I didn’t know what issues were being decided on. I couldn’t register to vote because I was in school and didn’t have a permanent address. I didn’t vote in that election. Since then, I’ve anxiously awaited for this year’s presidential election.

The voter registration process was easy. It only took me a few minutes to register online and a couple weeks to get my voter information in the mail. I easily located my polling place as well. Finally, I was registered and ready to vote.

On election day, I went to my polling place with my younger sister, who was also voting for the first time, and waited in a short line. When it was my turn the poll workers politely greeted me, found my name on the list and handed me my ballot. They were also very excited that I was a first time voter.

The ballot was several pages long but it only took about five minutes to get through it all. I took my time to make sure everything was bubbled correctly. I finished and with the help of another poll worker, I put my ballot  into the machine. She handed me my “I voted” sticker and I proudly put it on my shirt. All of the poll workers thanked me for voting and sent me on my way out.

“Don’t vote, don’t complain,” my mother would always say.  Today, I exercised my right to vote. This experience showed me just how painless it is to vote. Voting is an essential part of our democratic government.  I look forward to voting in all future elections.