First-Time Voters Join 217 Years Of American Democracy

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Rim Country resident Kayla Addington, 18, will be heading to the voting booth for the first time on Nov. 7.

"It is important to vote to express your opinions," Addington said.

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Kayla Addington

The issue that is timely for her on the Nov. 7 ballot is Proposition 201, the Smoke-Free Arizona Act.

"It would ban smoking in public restaurants and other places," Addington said.

"I think people shouldn't be allowed to smoke in restaurants."

She does not watch TV and the posted ads catch her eyes more as a distraction than a source of information.

Reading the voter pamphlets is on her to-do list before voting.

She registered to vote one day when someone was manning a table at Gila Community College where she was taking classes. Addington filled out the form and used her driver's license for proof of citizenship. Once the form was sent in, Gila County Recorder Linda Haught Ortega sent Addington her voter registration card.

Lyndon B. Johnson once said, "The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."

The first vote of the United States in February 1789 elected George Washington president.

Any Caucasian adult male could vote. Women had no say.

Susan B. Anthony and others fought for women's right to vote, beginning in the late 1860s.

Five decades later, in August 1920, both houses of Congress finally ratified the 19th amendment granting the right to vote to adult women.

Arizonans got the vote following its Feb. 14, 1912 entrance into statehood as the 48th state.

Voter registration forms may be obtained at the U.S. Post Office, by calling (928)425-3231 ext. 8730, or can be filled out online at www.azsos.gov/election/How_to_register.htm.

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