Voting: The struggle of casting a ballot

In the Pierce County Annex voting center, a diverse group of people stood around in line either on their phones, or brushing up on their knowledge of the candidates and legislature they are voting for, and grasping voter information pamphlets in their hands nervously.

While cars are plentiful in this day and age, voting can still be difficult. With limited voting centers, people have to drive long distances in order to cast their vote. Not everyone has time to wait in line for up to 30 minutes and cast his or her vote on a weekday. Voting on a Tuesday is an inconvenience to the working class as not everyone can make it out of work to go to a voting center between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

An active duty Army member, Hector Toledo and his co-workers got off from work early in order to vote. Feeling confident in his choice of president, Toledo did a lot of research online on the candidates and initiatives that he would be voting for. One problem that could deter voters for making educated selections is confusing wording and complex explanations on the ballot. Lavinia Gannt, working to help navigate voters through the Pierce County Annex, admitted that she had to look up some of the initiatives. She even turned to the dictionary to clarify the language used in the information pamphlet given out to everyone.

Civic duty encouraged most people to vote. Rich McGowan, a voter who works at the Pierce County Annex, said his motivation to vote was his philosophy that, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” However, friends and family definitely play a role in encouraging young citizens to vote. Dominique Gifford was compelled to vote by his friends on Facebook, who all had posted pictures of themselves voting and kept asking whether he had voted yet.

When Gifford decided to go vote he woke up and drove for hours. First visiting drop boxes, he soon settled on Pierce County Annex voting center as the voting drop boxes were out of extra ballots. The shortage in ballots could significantly impact voter turnout as some people do not have the time, patience or resources to drive far to vote. In summary, researching politics didn’t take much effort, but most overcame transportation obstacles in order to vote — these electoral challenges do exist in Washington. Most had the will to vote and saw voting as what it is — a civic duty and responsibility of all American citizens.