A little more than two weeks ago, I discovered a whole new world through a minor rite of passage. Now that I am 18 years of age, I can contribute to the community by having my opinion make a difference in the town’s future. What is this incredible new experience I ventured, you might ask? I’ll give you a hint, we had a day off from school because it was just that important. You guessed it, voting!

I’m sure voting for an adult, who has been doing it for years, feels that it is pretty ordinary and nothing big should be made out of it, but if it’s your first time, it can be fairly invigorating.

I went into the Clune auditorium lobby at the high school and immediately felt a tidal wave of excitement as well as some nerves come over me. Yeah, in past years I went with my parents to get a lay of the land, but actually being a part of something as vital as local government in a small community can make you weak at the knees.

I stepped in the door and saw the voting booths to my left, the tables sorted by street in front of me and the roped path that I had to travel on and not dare set foot elsewhere, to my right. I walked down the path with each step getting more anxious as I went and at the end of the line, I see music stands holding a sample of the ballots. I briefed myself and prepared to step up to home plate, (but not at the Mets stadium because that was embarrassing).

I walked up to the table reading “R-Z,” got out identification and the worker gave me my first official ballot of my life. I walked then to an unoccupied voting booth and went to town on that ballot. It was as if I was taking a test. I shielded my paper so no one would copy my answers and I thought long and hard about each choice, like my final grade was depending on it. Bubbling in circles was too relatable to a Scantron as well so that didn’t help my cause either.

As soon as I finished, I capped the pen and walked over to the ballot machine and cautiously slid my ballot towards the mouth as if it was going to be blown up any second. The contraption grasped my hard work by its plastic teeth and yanked it from my hand. As soon as that happened, I was greeted by another worker and was given the famous “I voted” sticker. Putting that sticky paper on my sweater made me one very happy clam.

As many of my fans know, I have an interest in government and politics; therefore I am taking an AP government course this year, and this Election Day was particularly interesting because we just finished a polling project where we were pollsters and we evaluated our findings. But during this process, I realized that many people are unaware of the question I asked or relating to Wilton, who these candidates are and what they stand for. If you ever plan to vote, it is important to learn about the candidates by reading up on them and attending town events hosting these candidates.

But going back to the story, I then walked out of the Clune and vanished into the warm but crisp, election night air, coming as a little boy in his senior year of high school and leaving as a changed man ready for the rest of his life.


Christian Lovallo is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.