On first-time voters
Due to the collaboration and coordination of strong community leaders, more Minnesotans — especially among the youth — are now able to cast their ballots in elections and strengthen Minnesota’s democracy.
When I was 16, the thought of voting was an idea far-off, an action adults could take as an act of community service, and something I was a ways away from even considering.
I never thought about registering to vote or what voting means for democracy as I figured that was an instantaneous realization that adults came to terms with.
At 18, when I voted in my first election in college, that’s when I learned that my vote matters, not just as a civic duty but for upholding a strong and reliable political system.
The Minnesota legislature recently passed the Democracy for the People Act, which allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and dramatically increases the likelihood they’ll become lifelong voters, resulting in a stronger democracy.
When more Minnesotans can and do vote, we underpin and strengthen a democracy that’s reflective of our communities, diverse and multicultural wonders.
Because of this legislation, I’m proud to live in Minnesota where our political leaders are empowering more communities to use their voice by voting.
(Lauren Witt lives in St. Paul and is advocacy chair of the Minnesota Society for Public Health Education.)