Students share their thoughts on whether or not mail-in voting will appeal to them and drive them to vote in this year’s presidential election.
The simple flick of a pen determining the next leader of our country has suddenly become the click of a button. The question is if this shift in simplicity will cause a greater voting turnout or merely cause more conflict to the controversy already surrounding the presidential election. Seniors eligible to vote in this year’s election discuss how mail-in voting will affect themselves and fellow 18-year-olds’ decision to vote.
“I feel like mail-in voting is a good thing,” senior Christopher Lee said. “I think it will make more people vote.”
On the other hand, senior Lauren Hartwell feels as if mail-in voting will reduce the number of votes coming in.
“I think it will cause less people to vote because more people will forget to mail-in their votes instead of just going to the polls,” Hartwell said. “People don’t really use mail anymore so some people might not know how to do it.”
Senior Aric Tong discusses the effect COVID-19 has on mail-in voting and the legitimacy of voting through this method.
“I think mail-in voting is probably the safer route contact wise due to the virus,” Tong said. “But, with how the USPS system is struggling, it may result in thousands of votes not being cast which is upsetting.”
Lee continues to address the concern about the validity of a vote through the mail.
“[A] benefit [to voting by mail is] more people feel safe voting. [A] drawback [is] maybe more fraud,” Lee said. “I would vote in person because now I’m worried if my vote will count if I vote by mail.”
With many seniors eligible to vote this year, Tong discusses the effect mail-in voting will have on their decision to vote.
“I think mail-in voting would convince more seniors [to vote] because they may not have gone [to the polls] due to mobility issues, sickness, or recently, the virus,” Tong said.
Hartwell also discusses the benefit of help from parents seniors might have if they choose to vote by mail.
“It caused me to want to vote more because I was able to fill it out with my parents and I didn’t have to leave my house,” Hartwell said.
Hartwell had the opportunity to vote prior to the coming presidential election and shares her thoughts on the voting process.
“I voted in the primary by mailing in my vote, but I haven’t voted in person,” Hartwell said. “They will compare because mail-in voting causes you to have to plan ahead more, because you have to request a mail-in ballot to be sent to you. Before, you could just go to the polls.”
Tong shares her overall preference for voting and invites other seniors to use their voice to vote.
“I have a preference for voting in person because I want my vote to count, and with mail-in voting, that might not occur,” Tong said. “I think everyone deserves the right to choose, but if you’re able-bodied and feel that all precautions are met, I’d urge you to vote in person.”
Teens take on Election Day
The National Democratic and Republican Conventions may be behind us, but this year’s election is just ramping up. To many young people, this doesn’t mean a thing. In fact, only 46.1 percent of people ages 18-24 voted in the 2016 election, according to the National Census. This data shows that many who are eligible to vote choose not to do so, resulting in an underrepresentation of youth in politics. Many young people are now out to change this. In the meantime, veteran voters prepare to return to the polls while new voters ready themselves for what will be their inaugural voting year.
First time voter and senior Zoe Dougherty sees voting as a major opportunity for change.
“There are so few young people participating in politics and it’s important to have my voice heard,” Dougherty said. “My voting is impacting society because it is helping change policy, locally or even nationally.”
For Dougherty, developing her unique political identity allows her to use her voice for good, and she encourages others to do the same.
“More 18-year-olds should vote because it could totally turn the elections. Politicians make policy so they get re-voted, and if the voters are all seniors, the policy will be made for them and not for young people,” Dougherty said.
As for advice, she offers this tip to fellow and future voters:
“Know what you’re getting into. Do your research: the more you know about the process and who’s running, the more educated your vote will be,” Dougherty said.
American Politics rotate around two major political groups: The Democratic and Republican Parties. Navigating politics can be a tricky concept for anyone, but students who participate in the Young Republicans and Young Democrats clubs here have decided to face this challenge head.
Sophomore Luke Sequiera discovered the Young Democrats while looking for different clubs to participate in, but soon became very passionate about what the club was doing.
“We would get together about once a week and would learn about the current events from non-biased media sources. We also did things like volunteering in the community and the club even went to the Women’s March,” Sequiera said.
Sequiera also described the debates they had with the Young Republicans club. He feels that it is very important and beneficial for young people to get involved with politics.
“Teens should work together to speak up for those who can’t speak up from themselves and be the change they want to see in their community and their country,” Sequiera said. “Teenagers are roughly 13 percent of the American population. With enough people supporting a cause, almost any change can be instituted. It’s important for everyone to be involved in politics because the government and the representatives that are voted in affect almost every aspect of our lives in some way.”