I'm about 6 years old and walking through the neighborhood with my folks. Three blocks later, we're at our destination -- some stranger's garage.

That may have been my first voting experience.

And, because my parents made the elections -- specifically voting -- so important, I have never missed an opportunity to embrace that privilege.

I couldn't wait to turn 18 because it meant I was eligible to hit the polling place.

My first Super Tuesday was a big one, too -- a presidential year. (I voted for Jimmy Carter.) Since that first mark of that ballot, I have never skipped out on this opportunity.

This is from a gal who's not particularly fond of politics. I adore getting things done and loathe inefficiency, but from the outside, politics seems filled with jockeying, one-sided opinions and divisiveness.

This year seems particularly harsh in terms of my side-your side "discussions." I don't mind you standing up for your candidate. But why is tearing someone else down the way to do it?

Still, with pride and enthusiasm, I vote without fail.

Maybe you're one of those who think your vote doesn't really count.

Well, check this out.

Last June, a $59 million bond that would modernize the 58-year-old Antioch High was on the ballot. The measure needed a 55 percent vote to win.

Guess what? It lost by 31 votes. That's about the amount of kids in my daughter's classroom, the number of folks in my Thursday weightlifting class, and essentially your immediate neighborhood.

For those voting yes and backing that measure, it was gut-wrenching. I found it sad that something could lose by such a tight margin.

Some of that was apathy, for sure. Maybe a June election simply slipped their minds. Whatever the case, voting can't be an if-there's-time scenario.

This November, the district is giving it another go with Measure B.

If you're one of many pressed for time, consider the absentee ballot. It's so simple, so easy. The ballot comes to your home, giving you the opportunity to really read over the materials and cast your vote. Then pop it in the mail. Boom; responsibility and privilege all done.

Countless people worked incredibly hard and gave it their all to ensure we have the right to vote.

Hello, women's suffrage of 1920. Hey there, Voting Rights Act of 1965. And so much more.

If this reads as finger-wagging, it's not meant to be.

It's a reminder that we have this incredible right to vote, and we should never miss a chance to participate in that process.

The big election is Nov. 6, and deadline to register is Oct. 22. To register online, visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm.

Contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net.