Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

First Time Voting, by Teen Contributor Riley Jensen

Recently, I went out for the first time to vote with my family. In a lot of ways it was different than I expected, but I’m glad I got to go out and do it. It’s important to me to be able to use my right to vote to help make a difference.

My parents and I got to the polling station fairly early to avoid too long of a line. I had never really thought about the waiting part of waiting. I guess I just kind of thought that you would get in and get out, but it wasn’t like that at all. We waited for probably more than an hour in a decent size line.

Another thing that I didn’t anticipate was all the things you weren’t allowed to do near the polling station. I knew you couldn’t wear anything related to a certain person running, but there was a lot of other stuff. There was no political discussion in the lines at all and you couldn’t take pictures either. A person even came around to check shirts. There was just a lot more rules than I expected.

A picture of Riley going to vote, but outside the parameters because you weren’t allowed to have cell phones

Also, the voting environment was totally different than I had pictured. I had always imagined this super secluded thing, like you couldn’t even see the other people while you voted. I had all of this in mind, but then I go into this one room with like 7 other people and sit at a little table. On that table is this computer-like thing with two things blocking both sides.

In a way, voting was both more formal and less formal than I had expected. it was almost like whatever I thought it was actually the opposite. But, overall, it was an important thing for me to do.

Riley, Teen Reviewer

I am a senior in high school and an avid reader. I have been reviewing books on this blog since 2012. I love musical theatre and listen to show tunes a lot. I also love murder books (both fiction and nonfiction), and want to go to college to be a forensic scientist after high school. Reading is one of my favorite things to do, so I just put that hobby to good use for my mom.

Voting and Elections in YA Lit

Here’s a brief collection of YA fiction and nonfiction titles that deal with the topic of elections and voting.

It’s not enough to tell teens to register to vote, you have to help them with next steps. Teach them how to research the candidates and issues. Talk to them about what happens at the voting booth & how to fill out & submit a ballot. Help them be informed, confident voters. Being an engaged citizen is about more then just registering to vote, so let’s help teens follow the process, not just begin it.

Resources

https://www.usa.gov/voter-registration-age-requirements

Rock the Vote

Pew Political Party Quiz

How to Register to Vote