Midterm elections took place Nov. 8, and 18-year-old students experienced their first time voting.
Student voters viewed voting as a responsibility to participate in society.
“I decided to vote because I personally think it’s my civic duty to go out and at least look at the ballot and fill out what I have an opinion on. There were some issues that I didn’t vote on, but there were also issues that I did vote on,” senior Jude Bronner said.
Bronner voted at the First Congregational Church on Lockwood. Upon arriving and finding that his driver’s license had expired, people in the voting center cheered and rang bells as it was his first time voting.
Senior Lily Petersen voted at Edgar Road Elementary School with her sister. Petersen was surprised that her ballot was a piece of paper rather than a machine or computer ballot. Petersen also felt that voting was her responsibility as a citizen.
“It’s my responsibility as a person who cares about the state of the world, even though I knew in the state we live in, my specific votes probably weren’t going to actually make the changes that I want, but it’s still important to vote, especially because a lot of young people don’t,” Petersen said.
Students asked parents and friends about voting. Although others helped in their voting process, students felt they could make their own political decisions.
“I feel like I could mostly make my own decision. I’m pretty good at making my own decisions on politics and stuff because my family and I don’t really agree, so I’m usually pretty solid in what I think,” Petersen said.
Student voters did research on amendments and candidates prior to voting. Bronner acknowledged sites Ballotpedia and Vote411.
“Obviously, women’s rights are kind of at stake right now, so I wanted to do a lot of research to make sure I was making sure that my rights are not taken away,” senior Molly Knackstedt said.
Knackstedt researched on the internet about candidates and issues. When she arrived at the voting center and gave the people at the voting center her ID, they helped her on where to go to vote.
Being younger in the voting center meant acknowledgement from voting staff.
“They obviously know it’s your first time, so there’s definitely a sort of different warmth towards you. It’s all in a nice way,” senior Cole Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon went alone to Hudson to vote. After standing in line for 30 minutes, it took him 10 minutes to vote. Sturgeon decided to vote because his parents told him it was a good idea.
For students who didn’t vote, registering was the issue. Both senior Mirabelle Williams and senior Jackson Bacilek were not able to vote as Williams registered late, and Bacilek forgot to altogether. Williams and Bacilek regretted their decision.
“I wanted to (vote), very badly. Although it’s hard because I saw the results and for the person who I would have voted for, my one vote wouldn’t have made them win, but I still feel like it’s a duty, and that you should vote for who you want to be in office,” Williams said.
“I regret a little bit not voting. I regret not speaking up, not displaying my opinion. I feel like everyone should have a right to do that, and I kind of just forgot about it really,” Bacilek said. Williams and Bacilek plan to vote in the next election.
Student voters encouraged young people to vote.
“I think it’s vital for young people to vote. I’m pretty sure that Gen Z is the most underrepresented group in voting, and I think often we have the strongest opinions, and I think if you want to act on those strong opinions, one of the most direct and effective ways is to vote,” Bronner said.
This will be Luca Giordano’s first year on ECHO Staff, but he also made several contributions while taking journalism class his junior year.