Voting Brings the Change – My Voting Experience


Denise Diaz

I vote because my life depends on it

Denise Diaz, Reporter

The election of 2020 has proven to be one of the most important elections that I’ve been alive to witness — I have never felt more compelled to vote. Voter turnout has broken records all over the country and it’s been amazing to witness Americans come together and exercise their right to vote.

I have met 18-year-old first time voters enthusiastic to vote, and senior citizen voters who didn’t allow a pandemic to stop them. Now, with the Presidential race still declared undecided, it is more evident that every vote truly counts.

On my journey to Election Day, I stopped by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections routinely. Every time was a surprise. No matter what time of day I drove by, regardless of the weather conditions, Floridians were committed to casting their ballot. ABC News reported a woman in labor who didn’t want to go to the hospital until she voted. It’s a remarkable story that emphasizes the importance of voting.

With police brutality on the rise, racial segregation trying to come back with a vengeance, and a worldwide pandemic, it’s impossible to ignore politics. Our country is in a health and economic crisis. Every decision from our elected government impacts citizens and lives are in the balance. Livelihoods are uncertain and minorities are suffering from oppression, much like the stories in our history books — nothing will change overnight. However, it is imperative for the American people to get involved and vote to continue the fight against racism, cause a shift in our judicial system, and ultimately unify a wounded Nation.

On the morning of Election Day, with excitement, I headed to my local poll location, the Joy Metropolitan Community Church on S. Ferncreek Ave, and to my surprise, it didn’t have a line. It made me nervous and I started to think, people weren’t going to show up and vote. On the contrary, I felt encouraged as I exited and saw a line starting to form. Americans of all age groups were showing up. While filling out my ballot, I overheard celebration from election volunteers. There was an 18-year-old, Boone High School 2020 graduate, who came into the church, not knowing anything about voting but looking to do so for the first time. We spoke briefly outside the church. The young lady tells me she was voting because her parents opted not to this election and she wanted to be an example to them that every vote counts. She continued to explain to me that her parents “felt defeated because they didn’t think their candidate had a chance”, but she wanted the voice of the youth to be heard.

As I walked back to my car, I saw an older gentleman who was sitting in a lawn chair in the bed of his truck holding signs urging people to vote for Dr. Leo Valentin. Dr. Valentin is a Republican leader who was up against Stephanie Murphy for the Florida 7th Congressional District. The 65-year-old voter said this was the first-time in his voting history that he was campaigning for anyone. He tells me he didn’t feel like casting his ballot was enough, so he was out until midnight the night before Election Day, putting up signs all over Seminole County supporting Dr. Valentin. He felt so passionate about Dr. Valentin, he proudly sat in his truck and waved his signs. Before I said my goodbyes, he shared with me stories of he and his family having respectful political discussions around the dinner table and how doing so was to set the example to his children and grandchildren why they must always exercise their right to vote.

I’m proud to say that I am a part of this historic election. According to the Business Insider, CBS News, and other news sources, Former Vice President Joe Biden has broken a record of the most votes in American history, surpassing President Obama. I was one of those 71 million plus votes. To me, this election isn’t about who to vote for. It’s about Americans committing to the voting process and trusting in it to make a change.