I have these memories as a kid of going with my mom to her polling place.
I was young at the time, probably between 3 and 5 years old, and so I had to go. I didn’t have a choice.
But, being a kid at the polls did have its one major upside. I got to get all the stickers that I wanted. I would walk out of the building with “I Voted” stickers on both sides of my chest and two or three down the arms of my shirt sleeves. I proudly displayed my sticker for the world to see.
Fast forward a quarter century, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Now, every single moment of everybody’s life is covered on social media, and Election Day is no exception. One of the biggest trends is people posting some sort of selfie with that “I Voted” sticker — I would’ve been a hit in prior years because I was adorable covered in those stickers. I would’ve racked up the likes, you guys.
A lot of these posts come from people my age and a bit younger. After all, we are a social media generation.
I don’t remember the first time I ever saw an “I Voted” selfie, but I’ve come to expect them on Election Day and groan louder with each one I see now — it’s just another way for people to say, “Hey, I know today’s a big day and all, but also don’t forget about me.”
I’ve digressed from my main point. I’m sorry about it.
I have this sense of pride in getting that sticker.
It actually means something now, and it’s not just T-shirt accouterments.
We have a civic duty as Americans to make a decision for the next four years.
Voting is an amazing concept. Think about the many different demographics across the state of Alabama. We don’t all have the same level of education, religion and we all come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, but we all have the same right to cast our vote for the one we think is a worthy candidate.
I’m thankful for parents that showed me as a kid just how important that right was. Especially my mom, who wouldn’t have even had this right had she been born a century prior.
I’m not going to make an endorsement — I would probably privately tell you who I voted for, but what do you care? I just want you to go out and vote and participate in history.
Since I’ve started covering state and local elections, I’ve come to enjoy this day even more than before. It’s a chance for us to be true “breaking news” reporters. I love watching the ballot totals as they roll in, and I like being the first person with this information as I watch the state and county start to narrow down its selection.
So, happy Election Day. You may be undecided, or you may not have a candidate you like at all, but I hope you find a reason to get to you polling place today. Plus, no matter who you choose today, you’ll still get that sticker, and if that’s not your thing then you can come find me.
I’ll take that sticker off your hands and start running them up and down both arms again.
Managing Editor Bradley Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org