Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Birthday Gift

<lass="page layoutArea column" title="Page 1">

I still remember my 18th birthday like it was yesterday, despite the fact that it occurred more than three years ago. My 18th birthday wasn’t memorable because of the celebration I had or even because of the birthday gifts I received on that cold January day. Instead, my birthday was memorable because after the celebration died down and the guests went home, my father approached me holding a single sheet of paper in his hand. That single sheet of paper was a voter registration form. As he handed me the form, he said the following “I don’t care who you vote for, but at the end of the day, and so long as you live under my roof, I expect that you vote in every election.” Keeping those words in mind, I filled out the voter registration form and returned it to the Taos County Clerk the next day.

My first ever election came about a month later in February of 2013. After carefully weighing my choices, I told my father that I had made up my mind on who to support in this small, but important school board election. He listened patiently as I explained why I supported my candidate of choice. When I finished my explanation, he looked at me and said, “Sounds like you have made up your mind, let’s go vote!” And so we walked from his work to the County Clerk’s Office and cast our votes after taking a selfie to commemorate the moment.

As we walked out of the County Clerk’s office, my father told me “I didn’t tell you how I was planning on voting earlier because I didn’t want you to vote based off of what I thought of the candidates. However, now that we voted, I am going to tell you whom I voted for and why.” My father then proceeded to repeat a list reasons that was nearly identical to the list of reasons I shared with him when explaining my vote to him not an hour earlier; it was at this moment I realized how similar my father and I were not only when it came to electoral choices, but to the reasoning we applied in selecting a candidate for whom we should vote.

If an outside observer were to see our ballots in the five elections (two tax elections, the 2014 primary, the 2014 general, and the 2016 primary) since that first school board election, they would quickly find that my father and I have continued our streak of similar voting. The most notable example of this was the 2014 general elections in New Mexico. In this election, every major state elected official (such as Attorney General, Secretary of State, etc) was on the ballot and despite the fact that we were voting on more than twenty races, my father and I voted for the same candidate in all but a single race: the Secretary of State race. In this race, I voted for the incumbent Republican, Dianna Duran, and he voted for the Democratic challenger, Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Even now, in the two elections since the 2014 general election in New Mexico, my voting record has continued to mirror my father’s voting record and I suspect my record will continue to do so as long as we both still vote. Although I do not have the space to properly and deeply explore the reason(s) behind this mirroring, I suspect it has to do, in part, with the fact that my father and I talk about politics and candidate positions on issues on a daily basis. It is through these conversations that we influence the other’s viewpoints, as we will press each other if we think the other person is not justifying their votes sufficiently.

For those who don’t know why your parents vote for the candidates they do (if you know at all), I encourage you to ask. Even if they are voting for candidates that you do not like, it brings up quite an interesting conversation; in my experience, that conversation is well worth having.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *