Because I care. Because I deserve to be heard. And because I believe in the power of one voice.
On my lunch break, as I sat in a chair in in the back of the Salt Lake County Clerk & Recorder's office waiting for my voter card to be programmed, I observed the mix of people around me and I was filled with pride.
I smiled at the Hispanic family who visited the office together to register to vote and while the words being spoken were not those I understood, I identified with the excitement they had for being there.
I watched a middle aged couple standing closely together, filling out their papers to register to vote.
Another man dressed in his neatly pressed pants, shirt and tie walked in the with a beaming smile on his face as he pulled out his ID card and took his place in line.
Polling workers frantically took information and processed new registration cards with smiles on their faces. As voters handed their programmed cards back to the workers they said, "Wait, don't go until I get you your voter sticker," and happily handed the red, white and blue stickers across the counter.
All of us were in that room for a reason. A reason of passion...and a need to be heard.
It was the year 2000 when I was able to fully appreciate the emotions that surround me when I vote. I worked my little heart out on committees working to defeat Colorado Ballot Amendments 21 and 24. After my hard work, I went to the polls, proudly cast my ballot and anxiously waited on election night as the results trickled in. When the votes were counted and I saw the campaigns I worked on were successful, I breathed a sigh of relief and was filled with a sense of pride.
To this day, every time I go vote, my heart swells a little, and I leave with my head held high.
I am thankful to live in a country where I can freely cast my opinion with out fear of persecution. My vote matters to me, the people in my community and to the people of this nation.
So I'm asking you - my friends, family and community members to rise up. Rise up and take advantage of this opportunity to freely cast your opinion on the issues that matter to you.