In today’s challenging political climate, the one thing many people were looking forward to was casting their ballot on Election Day on November 3. Many remember the first election they voted in as an important moment in them contributing to our country’s democracy. The process of voting, though, is never as easy as we would […]
In today’s challenging political climate, the one thing many people were looking forward to was casting their ballot on Election Day on November 3. Many remember the first election they voted in as an important moment in them contributing to our country’s democracy. The process of voting, though, is never as easy as we would hope. Registering, reading propositions, and researching candidates all takes time. Along with juggling the stress of senior year, a few members of the senior class were eligible to cast their ballots in the 2020 election.
S.A.L.T president Liz Cotillo (‘21) dropped off her ballot the weekend prior to Election Day. Considering she just turned 18 a few months ago, she may have considered to opt out of voting in the current election, but she did not.
“I chose to vote because I want to use my power as a U.S. citizen to share my voice,” she said. “I wanted to vote because voting is an opportunity for change. I know that every vote counts and even mine can make a difference. I wanted to stand up for issues that I care about and issues that will affect future generations”.
After voting Elizabeth, she felt “great knowing that I was able to cast my vote. I know that politics effects us every single day and I feel proud knowing that my voice can finally be heard. I’m happy knowing that I have the power to change the future”.
Teenagers can pre-register to vote at the ages of 16 and 17 in order to be eligible to vote on their 18th birthday. Voting, though, can sometimes feel intimidating for a young person who is newly 18. Jake Harris (‘21) was not sure how to feel after casting his ballot this year.
“I felt a little weird after voting — I think I’m a little to young to be voting,” he said. “But I felt happy that I was able to vote to help out my future and my generation’s future”.
Despite not feeling old enough to vote or be even able to understand everything having to do with the election, he still knew the importance of not opting out of voting.
“I knew this was going to be an important election to vote in, and I knew if I started to vote now, I would create a habit of voting in the future,” Jake said. “I also knew voting was going to make an impact, and I would rather help our country than watch it go downhill”.
Along with voting for who will be our president and their representative’s congressperson, California residents vote on statewide propositions. To many voters, these can be confusing to read and vote on. When looking at the issues on the ballot Jake said “none of the propositions really stood out to me other than Prop 22. I drive for DoorDash and this prop was trying to make it so people for DoorDash, and Postmates and all of those companies wouldn’t be able to be independent contractors.”
A common reason people decide not to vote is that they feel their vote in the grand scheme of things would not matter. This is simply not true, and the importance of voting for all people is never diminished.
“I believe that as the next generation we have a duty to take part in shaping the way we want our country to be run especially for future generations,” first time voter Emilio Ralph (‘21) says. “Young people should always show up for elections and be a part of contributing to democracy”.
“I chose to vote because I know my vote matters and it always will. Peoples’ voices in democracy are shared through their vote. If we all had the attitude of choosing not to vote because we think our vote does not matter, there would be no importance of democracy”.
2020’s election showed record breaking numbers of people who participated in voting. As more people continue to engage in our country’s democracy, we hope the fate of country for future generations continues to be enriched.