OPINION: A first-time voter’s view of the voting booth

18-year-old Jasmine Starchuk will vote for the first time

By Jasmine Starchuk

Special to Black Press

It’s one thing being old enough to vote but being ready to vote is something entirely different. It’s a lot more complicated and deserves a lot more respect than I had ever realized. It is not simply about checking a box and hoping the candidate you chose wins. There is significance in each vote; every individual choice plays a huge part in shaping the immediate future of our country. I am scared to make a choice — I don’t want to make a mistake. In a situation where one opinion can make a difference, I don’t want to be the one to tip the scales in the wrong direction.

I have so many questions that I don’t even know how to ask. I feel lost in it all. To describe how I feel about voting for the first time could easily be summed up with the two simple words: overwhelmed, and confused.

Though maybe a bit hyperbolic, this fear is paralyzing when it comes to trying to make a decision. There is so much to consider. Do I vote in line with my morals or for what is best for society as a whole? It’s all very confusing for someone with little background knowledge in politics.

Being exposed to another side of our society that I’ve been living completely oblivious to is a lot to take in and I am unsure of how to navigate it.

This is how I picture life inside the voting booth: I’ve never seen it, but I can imagine it is blue versus red, with orange on the shoulder and green catching a wave whenever possible. Once in a while other colours and names make an appearance, but don’t often gain a strong enough stance to stick around for too long.

I imagine unfriendly competition, where attacks are not always aimed professionally towards the political mind, but sometimes rather childishly at the heart.

One thing I’ve come to understand is that elections are more than just trying to prove one party is superior to the next, they seem to also be about trying to portray others as incompetent. Those running are playing offence from a line of defence. That is to say, they will attack with any means possible, so long as they are predominantly protecting themselves. I use the word playing, because sometimes it looks more like a game. Sometimes politics becomes so ridiculous it’s too hard to take seriously. If the candidates can’t even take each other seriously how are voters supposed to confidently choose a leader?

At first, some of the childish attacks, like Justin Trudeau’s blackface for example, discouraged me to vote. But then I realized that the candidates are people too. This thought both comforted and worried me. As people, they are not meant to be perfect, and it is in human nature to do what needs to be done to come out on top. However, being human also means they do not have superpowers. They are not invincible to the stress that comes with leading a country.

Despite the worries and initial confusion, all the thoughts I have had to sift through while writing this have lead me to a conclusion; I believe that using analytical thought and consideration will help me figure out how exactly to tackle the voting booth.

I think this is a choice that needs to be made using the logic of the mind rather than the emotion in the heart. At first reading, the campaigns gave me vertigo, but I think I understand how to go about it now. Now that I’m old enough to vote, I’d better do some more in-depth research to figure out who gets my endorsement.

My name is Jasmine Starchuk, I’m 18 years old and will be voting for the first time in the 2019 federal election. After the long, hard fight for this right I feel obligated to honour those who made voting possible, by voting.

• READ MORE: Federal Election coverage

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