A Day for Democracy: High Schooler Voting Experience

A Day for Democracy: High Schooler Voting Experience

Molly Ryan, Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, November 8th, several Scituate High School seniors made their contribution to democracy by casting their vote in the 2022 midterm elections. While the school was closed to students, the gymnasium was open to the public to cast their votes from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Several seniors recounted having spent their childhood going to the polls with their parents. So, as they entered the gymnasium on Tuesday, a feeling of pride and appreciation emerged as they slipped their own ballot into the machine and proudly wore their iconic “I voted” sticker.

As the country has endured social turmoil over the past decade, SHS students strive to make change. Extra-curricular activities such as the Students Taking Action Against Racism Club, Environmental Club, Amnesty International, and Model United Nations focus on mitigating critical societal crises. While students have worked to make a difference at the local level, this election gave eligible seniors the chance to influence government at the state level. SHS senior Matthew Dunn explained his motive for voting: “It’s my civic duty.” 

Each person has their own reason for voting, but for many, it’s a patriotic duty that, globally, not everyone has the chance to do. Some seniors opted out of voting in this election. Senior Daniel Brown “definitely” plans to vote in the future, but on Tuesday, his schedule prevented him from getting to the polls. While some seniors feel ready and prepared to vote, others wanted to do more research before casting their vote. Senior Brian Lannon turned 18 in the spring but decided not to vote on Tuesday. Brain said, “I didn’t do my research on the candidates” and thought, “I should’ve taken the time to learn what they’re for and against.” Lannon sees the importance in being an educated and informed voter, and he plans to research the candidates and cast an educated vote in the next election. A common trend among those who didn’t vote was not having enough time in their day. However, when the polls are open for 13 hours and there is no school, is this a valid excuse?

While some voting-eligible seniors may prioritize work or leisure time over participating in democracy, several seniors enjoyed campaigning for candidates. Scituate High School’s AP Government class includes many passionate students who are interested in politics. On the morning of the election, AP Government seniors Victor Bowker, Andrew Belson, Kelly Granatino, and Michael Johnston held signs for current Massachusetts State Senator Patrick O’Connor. Annika McCanne and Emma Reidel, also avid members of AP Government, held signs for Plymouth County District Attorney candidate Rahsaan Hall. Later that evening, Granatino continued to campaign for Hall and met other campaigners. Granatino said, “The women I held signs with had been bearing the cold for hours, but they were still full of energy and optimism.” 

Many of the poll volunteers and campaign volunteers are senior citizens who devote their energy and time into making the voting process as organized and efficient as possible. In the United States, democracy does not simply exist; it is built by those who believe in it and contribute to it. Without the poll volunteers and passionate campaign leaders, our democracy would not have the passion, debate, and involvement that it does today.