Anastasiya Bolton is a reporter here at 9NEWS. A good one.
She is not a political reporter, but she is passionate about her right to vote. She's Russian, and voted for the first time in 2008 after becoming a naturalized citizen. She decided to talk about that experience, and what the power of voting means to her.
She was nervous and emotional. Her words are above. Her video essay is above. We really recommend you watch it.
For many of you who were born in this country – voting is a right.
To me – it’s a privilege
I was born in Moscow, Russia. I immigrated to this country in the mid 90s. My first presidential election was in 2008. I had just become a citizen. I registered immediately. And I was proud to vote.
I didn’t do the mail-in ballot. I went to my polling place – I wanted to know how it felt to actually matter. To be heard. For my vote to count.
I touched that machine ever so gently, to make sure I was doing the right thing.
I watched the inauguration of MY FIRST PRESIDENT and cried. It was slightly embarrassing; I was on a treadmill at the gym. I looked at him and said out loud, "This is my president."
I look at where I’m from. In Russia, the same man is serving his third term as president. He's been in the position of power for 16 years. He’s also indicated he could run again in 2018, which would make him the longest serving leader since Stalin.
Russia is a place where strong vocal members of opposition are mysteriously, or not so mysteriously, killed in the streets in the heart of the city. The place where being a journalist is dangerous
That’s where I’m from.
And while it’s not all bad, I choose. I’m lucky enough to be able to choose to live here. I am an American.
I raise my family here. I vote here. It makes me mad when people are cavalier with this privilege. When they say it’s not important, or they won’t participate because they’re mad and nothing will change.
I’m passionate about our democracy.
I am excited to cast my ballot – because I can’t wait to be heard. I know it matters. I’m certain it will count.