Why Voting is Important in Today’s Political Climate

Madeleine Levesque, Staff Writer

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With the 2020 elections approaching, voting is becoming a relevant topic of discussion, especially with seniors who will be able to vote.

Recently, there have been mixed opinions on whether or not the voting age should be raised or lowered. Some are expressing that it’s an opportunity for sixteen to seventeen-year-olds to voice their opinion, some are content with the current age, and others say that we need to focus our energy on getting more eighteen-year-olds to vote. It isn’t a guarantee that more people would vote if we lowered the voting age to sixteen, so it would only make sense to try and find ways to get more eighteen-year-olds to vote in the first place.

SHS history teacher Heather Willinger believes that not knowing how to register to vote could be one of the reasons why voter turnout is low. According to Willinger, “There are actually links online now that are very simple, and you don’t really need to know a whole lot of information to be able to register.”

Generally speaking, young Americans have a more progressive attitude on current issues, particularly regarding environmental issues, international relations, the current presidential situation and more. It is vital to make sure that these voices are heard, and the only way to truly make a change is to vote. Nevertheless, statistically, this is the same age group with the lowest voter turnout.

Principal Robert Wargo expressed his concerns on this topic: “I always get concerned when people don’t vote and then express their concerns after the fact.” Adding to this idea, Willinger stated, “If teenagers or young adults started voting, then the politicians would listen–it would change the issues that people talk about, and it would change perhaps the actions that politicians would take.”

Election day voter registration (EDR), which enables people to register to vote on the day of elections, is only available in five states, and that doesn’t include Massachusetts. This means that people need to register about three weeks before election day at the latest, leaving a good amount unable to register in time if ill-informed. In previous election years, Willinger’s AP Government students held a voter registration drive in hopes that people would register. According to Willinger, they will probably hold one again.

Due to their passionate beliefs, young voters may turn out to vote in higher numbers, especially during the next presidential race, with many Generation Z voters, including myself, looking for a justifiable and democratic change.

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