On Tuesday, November 6th, multiple SWHS students voted for the very first time. While the A.P. Government students were in charge of staffing the polls, some of their peers came to cast their votes for our senator, congress representative, and governor among other things. Since 18 is the legal voting age, the small pool of student voters were seniors.
With the intense media coverage on the election, there was a distinct push for young adults to vote. Typically, voter turnout demographics have proven time and time again that older people are more likely to vote than young voters. The reasons for poor voter turnout in that age demographic can vary in reasons from simply forgetting to not believing in the system. At SWHS, some students chose not to vote. For instance, senior Sammie Kasheta describes ¨It feels like my vote doesn’t make a difference and I’d rather not use my time for something that doesn’t benefit myself.¨ Clearly, students chose to not vote because they feel it won’t make a difference.
The teachers at SWHS often explain the importance of voting to their students. As Mr. D’Amato, a SWHS A.P. Government teacher says, “The country was founded on the idea that you have for the people, by the people, and of the people, and if not all the people are voting or having their voice heard, then obviously that’s not happening to the fullest extent.” One common phrase from people who don’t vote is that one person’s vote “doesn’t matter” or “doesn’t count.” “That’s certainly their opinion,” D’Amato states, “and the idea of not voting is certainly a way to express yourself, but at the same time if you’re going to be someone who says that your vote doesn’t count and then that person is also complaining about how the government is run or that it doesn’t support the views or needs of all the population, then the only way to go about doing that is to politically engage in some way.”
One senior who does share that same passion for political action and involvement is Ethan Peplau. As an 18 year old senior, Peplau decided to vote for the first time because he felt “as if it is my chance to have a voice and make a change in my community and country as a whole.” He believes that people of all ages should vote in order to have varying opinions and thoughts on how the government should and does run. Peplau even agreed with D’Amato and thinks that people should consider voting before they “complain about how this country is run, as it’s their way of influencing it.”