It was such an empowering feeling knowing that I didn't have to wait to be 21 years old to vote. The law had changed, and at 18, I would be able to vote in my first election. For me, that was the gubernatorial election of 1974 in my home state of California. My vote went to Jerry Brown, who also happens to be serving his third term as governor of California.
We voted at the elementary school in our neighborhood. As a child, I remember tagging along with my parents, who as immigrants, valued the ability to vote with a fervor. Watching my parents mark their ballots, knowing they never skipped an election, instilled in me a belief that it was a privilege to be able to vote but also that it meant something. The votes of two people with accents, born in other countries, who could come to America, become citizens and have a voice -- that was never to be taken for granted. And it never has been.
The first presidential election I voted in was in 1976. Nixon had resigned, and former Vice President, now incumbent, Gerald Ford, would be running against Jimmy Carter. History was happening fast. A president had resigned amidst scandal. I would make sure my vote assured that all remnants of that previous election I hadn't been able to vote in were gone. I wanted to wave goodbye to that sad piece of history much as Nixon did as he left Washington once and for all.
Hope you all get out to vote. It's a privilege.
Speaking of voting, on this Super Tuesday, and with the 2012 presidential election just eight months away, we thought it would be interesting to hear your memories of the first time you voted in a presidential election and why you chose the candidate you did. See the slideshow below for some reader responses, and add your own voting memories in the comments below.
Follow Rita Wilson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@ritawilson