Here at Hattaway Communications, we’re celebrating Women’s Equality Day by sharing stories about voting from the women on our team. Whether they were voting for the first time or for the first female candidate for president, each story celebrates civic participation and honors the continuing fight to ensure that every person can exercise their right to vote.
“It all starts local.”
Following the 2016 election, I worked with my local and county-level Democratic groups in Pennsylvania to send a strong message to Republicans in 2017. We came together, and even though it was an off-year election, we won four out of five county seats in the elections. This marked the first time in more than 30 years that a Democrat held a county position other than commissioner in my home county. I also had the privilege to vote for my father, who won a seat on my hometown’s council. It all starts local!
Better late than never
I turned 18 less than a month before the 2008 election. I was so excited to vote for Obama that I registered on my birthday. But I realized too late that being at college meant I needed an absentee ballot — I missed the postmark date by a single day! I’ve been interested in youth voter registration ever since, especially since according to some estimates, only 50 percent of eligible voters aged 18–29 took part in the 2016 election. That’s 24 million missing voters. Luckily, I was more prepared four years later, so I still get to say that Obama was the first president I ever voted for!
“All who can vote, should vote!”
I voted for the first time as a naturalized citizen in the 2016 elections. I felt elated and honored participating in something that so many fought for. As a black woman and an immigrant, the results of the 2016 election cycle ingrained in me the importance of voting and why all who can vote, should vote!
I grew up in a political family; voting was instilled in my household. My siblings and I were all on the SGA board, and my mother was on the school board. My first chance to officially vote was the 2000 presidential election — I voted for Ralph Nader because I was a young rebel. We all know how that election year went. I wised up and voted for John Kerry in 2004, but alas, Bush won again.
“This is what democracy feels like.”
On a crisp November morning, the doors opened at the community center. A volunteer held the door for me and 30 of my neighbors, grinning and thanking us for being there. I queued my way to a voting booth, pressed a few buttons. I checked, and checked again. It seemed too quick for the weight of the occasion: I’d just voted for a woman to be president of my United States. With a lump in my throat, I went to claim my “I Voted” sticker. Catching the eye of another woman, we both wiped away a tear. This is what democracy feels like.
All illustrations are original work by Hattaway’s own talented designer, Angel Kim.