I don't know how many parts this "voting" series will end up having, but I basically intend to yammer on until I have exhausted the topic. Do not fear; in no way will I attempt to persuade you to vote for a particular candidate. And I don't imagine I'll even say much about this election cycle (except to note that we have less than four weeks remaining, thank goodness).
So, my adventure with voting began, I believe, in 1984. (The reason I believe that is because the only thing I remember from November 1980 is the birth of my brother-- and I only barely remember that. Presidential elections do not figure largely in the ken of 2-year-olds.) President Reagan was running for re-election against someone, presumably a Democrat. Of course, I probably didn't know that at the time. I knew there was someone named "Reagan" that people were always talking about, who didn't seem to be related to the Regan at church.
Anyway! We had plans to go do something that day, but first, our parents said, we would go vote. It would only take a few minutes, they said. The way they were talking about it told us it was something pretty special and exciting, and besides (I thought), I had heard Anne Ryder talking about it on the news, too. So maybe we would get to meet some of the people who we saw on the news. (I honestly wasn't thinking of being on TV; I just wanted to meet Anne Ryder.)
So we got to the polling place, our parents disappeared into some curtained cubicles, and we amused ourselves quietly in a corner (at least, I presume it was quietly; I don't remember anyone shouting at us, anyway). A few minutes later, the parents rounded us up and herded us to the car again. We were confused.
I: Where are we going?
Parents: (wherever it was we were going)
I: I thought we were going to vote!
Mum: We just did.
I: That was it?
Dad: Yeah, that was it.
In other words, my first experience with democracy was not all that I thought it would be.