Community Voices / About my first time … voting

Voted yet? Remember your first time? Ballots for the 2020 general election began arriving in mailboxes
this week, along with reminders such as this on a south Bellingham fence. (Amy Nelson photo © 2020)

— By Mike Sato

Many voters plan to leave their completed
ballots in official drop boxes such as this
one in the Whatcom County Courthouse
Central Avenue parking lot, between
Prospect Street and Grand Avenue in
Bellingham. (Amy Nelson photo © 2020)

The first time I voted was in November 1968. I was angry and scared about the war, heartbroken about Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, exhausted after working for Eugene McCarthy and watching Hubert Humphrey nominated, and filling out an absentee ballot sent from Hawaii.

I voted for Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party. I voted in anger; I don’t recall voting down the ballot for any other offices or issues. Since then I’ve voted in every presidential election, sometimes in anger, sometimes not. And always down the ballot for all other offices and issues.

How about you? When was your first time voting? 

Share your story with others by sending an email (100 words max) with a headshot to, subject line: Voting.

Mike Sato compiles environmental news items for Salish Sea News and Weather and periodically blogs for Salish Sea Communications. He is the author of The Price of Taming a River: The Decline of Puget Sound’s Duwamish/Green Waterway. He serves as managing editor for the Salish Current, and resides in Bellingham and on Lopez Island.

The views expressed in the essays, analyses and opinions as Community Voices are those of the author exclusively and not those of Salish Current. We welcome letters to the editor responding  to or amplifying on subjects addressed in Community Voices. 

If you wish to contribute to Community Voices, please send an email with a subject proposal to Managing Editor Mike Sato ( he will respond with guidelines.