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Samantha Church: Use your power to vote

Voting in the presidential election really burst my bubble. I thought all of the young people I knew would be voting. I thought the people at the polling place would be the same people who knocked on my door asking me to vote. I thought the people in line would look like me.

Instead, the people running my polling place were the same people doing it 50 years ago. The people standing in line with me had been voting since they were 18 years old, but they definitely weren't 18 anymore. And I didn't see anyone I knew in line besides my dad.

After all this, I powered through. I waited my turn and walked up to the polling officials proudly. I was handed my ballot and voted for the first time.

I turned in my ballot, got my sticker and immediately started crying when I got back to my car. I finally had the ability to inflict change in our country. I had the chance to make the change I badly wanted to see.

But that day, I didn't see change. I saw my friends posting on Facebook and Twitter how distraught they were. My professor even canceled class so that we could "recover."

Most of my friends on Facebook are probably tired of hearing this, but I think it's important to vote. If you are a registered voter (which is easy if you go to vote.gov), it doesn't take long to vote.

Your employer is legally bound to give you time to vote. Duluth Transit Authority is offering free rides on election day, and if you don't want to take the bus, Uber and Lyft are, too. After you return your ballot, you get a sticker!

Still, after all these cool reasons, I have to convince my friends to go with me to vote. I have to beg them to use their voice.

As a journalist, I have the power to inspire others. I have words on a page that, if read, can actually bend how someone thinks and cause them to react. I vote because my rights as a journalist matter. I vote because I want to see people like me in politics. I vote because people's voices are being silenced. I vote so that people who don't feel like their vote matters see that it does matter.

You should vote for all reasons you say you won't. Vote because you don't know how to. Vote because you don't think you can actually affect change. Vote because everyone in politics doesn't look like you.

After three years, I feel like I finally know how I can make that difference this election.

After living in Superior for nearly five years, I've learned a few things about the city and its residents.

Tower Avenue and Belknap Street get you to most ends of town, and we hate construction.

After working in Superior for the same amount of time, I've found that when I ask people if they are voting, they tend to back away from the conversation. I asked some of my co-workers, "Are you excited to vote?" and was hit with backlash. I heard things like, "I don't have time," and "I don't know who's running."

I'm tired of hearing the same excuses to not vote. You have the chance to create change, take it.

Samantha Church is a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth and an intern at the Duluth News Tribune and Superior Telegram. She works as the managing editor at The Bark, the student news organization at UMD.