‘I care too much not to vote’
Opinion: During the 2014 general election, I was 17 years old and all my friends were 18. I was so annoyed that they could vote and I couldn’t. Most of them didn’t vote, young people generally don’t, and that annoyed me so much more. I knew who I would have voted for. The same party I voted for this year.
Growing up I couldn’t wait to be able to vote. I wanted to feel like an adult. The first election I was able to vote in was for the Hamilton City Council. I did my research, I read up on all the candidates. My brother said I was weird. But then he doesn’t care about any of that. He didn’t vote this year despite turning 18, three days before the election and being enrolled.
The next thing I voted for was the flag referendum. I didn’t have to read up for that one, I knew I didn’t want the flag to change, I still don’t. This year, I finally got what I wanted. To vote in the general election. I was lucky, I’m in a position where I could meet the Hamilton candidates, although I met more from the Hamilton East electorate when I’m Hamilton West.
I knew who I wasn’t voting for, a choice influenced by my parents. I didn’t read up on all of the policies this year except the ones for the party I support. I wanted to read their smaller policies, to make sure they lined up with me.
I took at least three quizzes on who I should vote for and they all said the same thing. I had picked the right party for me. Friday, September 22, I walked down to the closest voting place and stood in the long line. I didn’t have to wait long. Some how everyone in front of me was Hamilton East and there was a Hamilton West person free. I got pushed right up to the front.
I sat down, gave my name and was handed my voting paper. This is what I had been waiting my whole life for. I ticked the circle next to the Green Party and the circle next to Jo Wrigley and put the paper in the box. I got my sticker. I think I ended up being more excited about that. Of course, I had to take a couple of pictures of me wearing the sticker proudly on my jacket. I am a millennial after all.
It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. I probably should have waited until the Saturday and voted next to my muminstead of casting my vote alone. But I care too much about my future to not vote.
I care too much about the country that my future children will live in. I care too much about this country that I always thought I wanted to leave. Election night was full of anxiety and heartbreak. I watched as National’s numbers stayed well above Labour’s.
I almost choked on my dinner when Hone Harawera said: ‘‘It’s not over until Paula Bennett sings’’. I thought that was a bit harsh. I carried on watching coverage of the election. I occasionally left the spare room of my parents’ house to vent at them about National winning. I needed to walk it off. I just care too much.
- Amelia Christensen-Rose is a journalism student at Wintec.
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Research confirmed which party firsttime voter Amelia Christensen-Rose should vote for.