By Dan Sobel
I want to preface this blog by mentioning that this past election was not the first time I’ve voted. I’ve voted a number of times, largely in federal elections, but state and local elections as well. I’ve done my civic duty before, yet it feels like this is the first election I truly voted in.
Before this year, elections were just a ritual to me: I go to some place where people vote, I sign my name on some uninteresting paper, I walked to some booth I didn’t care about, and either flicked switches or filled bubbles for nameless, faceless Democrats, for the party my family has always been supportive of. The elections never really mattered to me all that much. While I liked politics (I still do btw) I wasn’t so invested as to actually care about the outcomes.
This election was different for me in a number of ways. My work learning about local issues on Long Island with the LIPC and time I spent volunteering on the Suozzi campaign had me invested in the process in a way I had never been before. Making calls to fellow Democrats to drum up support for the campaign was quite a bit eye-opening for me; I knew of the general apathy that comes with local elections, but seeing it face-to-face is another experience entirely.
I will be graduating after this semester, so my thoughts are far more hardened and focused than they were before. Now these elections have a certifiable impact on my future. The expected victory of Bill de Blasio will mean more affordable housing for people like myself trying to enter the workforce in the city. Ed Mangano’s victory means just the opposite: my future in Nassau County (and probably the rest of Long Island) has greatly dimmed.
Voting this year was an entirely different experience for me. I walked to the designated voting center. I signed my name on a paper that shows I took part in this election. I went to a booth that ensures some measure of privacy. I once again voted for the Democrats, but this time with the purpose of preventing Republicans from pillaging the county. I even voted on some propositions; I took my time and read each proposition carefully until I understood each of them and voted decisively. This was an entirely new experience for me and I expect elections like these will help to shape me into the well-rounded person I want to become.