SHS students must understand the importance of voting

A+woman+casts+her+vote+in+Cambridge%2C+Ohio.+Photo+Credit%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fthumbor%2Fz5A7HND5N1T6lyF8uT6a-e0aOHE%3D%2F0x0%3A3600x2400%2F1200x800%2Ffilters%3Afocal%281290x826%3A1866x1402%29%2Fcdn.vox-cdn.com%2Fuploads%2Fchorus_image%2Fimage%2F62208063%2FGettyImages_1058143760.0.jpg
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SHS students must understand the importance of voting

A woman casts her vote in Cambridge, Ohio. Photo Credit: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/z5A7HND5N1T6lyF8uT6a-e0aOHE=/0x0:3600x2400/1200x800/filters:focal(1290x826:1866x1402)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62208063/GettyImages_1058143760.0.jpg

A woman casts her vote in Cambridge, Ohio. Photo Credit: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/z5A7HND5N1T6lyF8uT6a-e0aOHE=/0x0:3600x2400/1200x800/filters:focal(1290x826:1866x1402)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62208063/GettyImages_1058143760.0.jpg

A woman casts her vote in Cambridge, Ohio. Photo Credit: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/z5A7HND5N1T6lyF8uT6a-e0aOHE=/0x0:3600x2400/1200x800/filters:focal(1290x826:1866x1402)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62208063/GettyImages_1058143760.0.jpg

A woman casts her vote in Cambridge, Ohio. Photo Credit: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/z5A7HND5N1T6lyF8uT6a-e0aOHE=/0x0:3600x2400/1200x800/filters:focal(1290x826:1866x1402)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62208063/GettyImages_1058143760.0.jpg


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The political landscape shifted dramatically on Nov. 6 as the midterm elections were held and voters turned out to decide who would be elected – state representative, senator and in some states, governor. The midterms are what they sound like, they come at the middle of a president’s term and are an opportunity for the Democrats and Republicans to take control of the House and the Senate. Every election year, politicians and analysts alike worry about how much of an impact the young voter will make, and usually, it’s not nearly as big as it should be.                                                                                

There’s a problem with young voters in America as their seems to be every election year. High schoolers, for the most part, are unlikely to vote especially in non-presidential election. But there’s an exception, high schoolers are much more likely to vote in the midterms than the 20-25 age demographic, according to CNN. Before the Election, I started to wonder if that was true in our very own Solon High School (SHS), were the 18 year old students itching to vote on Nov. 6? Mike Bekelja, an 18 year old Senior at SHS, told me he wasn’t planning to vote. I questioned him further on why he would not take advantage of an opportunity to have a say in his government now that he’s an adult.

“I don’t feel like I have a say,” Bekelja said. “I know we aren’t supposed to say this but one vote is not going to affect the outcome, and I don’t have an interest in politics anyway so why bother you know?”

Bekelja’s answer is a fairly common one among people in our age range, instead of looking at voting as a civic duty and exercising their right to vote for the leaders of America, they look at themselves as unimportant, and the result of the election is a forgone conclusion with or without them. This is a dangerous thought. I look at being given the right to fair and balanced elections as a privilege, especially where you hear of rigged elections in foreign countries all the time, so why not take advantage of this amazing privilege?

It’s obvious to say that if everyone thought their vote was unimportant, very few people would vote and no one would get elected, but if you don’t see yourself as important in a Democracy, that says more about the failure of the Government than a case of young people not caring.

The 2016 Presidential Election was one of the most divided elections in our country’s history, the most troubling thing to come out of it is President Donald Trump didn’t even win the popular vote. According to Time, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a tally of 65,844,610 as opposed to Trump’s 62,979,636, that’s almost a three million difference in votes, but Trump still won the Electoral College. If the popular candidate can still lose despite having more votes, voters would become disenfranchised because of a controversial system like the Electoral College. Maybe that was a factor for some voters not voting.

“I think it’s crucial to vote as an American,” said Tyler Markowitz, a senior at SHS. “It’s an important part of our country that we [Americans] get to elect our leaders in the government.”

And Markowitz is right, the second we relinquish our right to vote in fair elections, we risk losing our voice in government. At that point our leaders won’t have to worry about public opinion since they have no say in whether they will be re-elected or not.

There was certainly a lot of renewed energy ahead of voting this year, but SHS senior Ani Atluri said we needed to back up the talk.

“People can complain all they want about the government, but unless they vote nothing will change,” Atluri said. “That’s why it’s so important for all of us to do our part and keep our Government’s interest in serving the people.”

If every student echoed Atluri’s comments, we wouldn’t have a problem with disinterested voters. Our job as citizens is to make sure Government officials are doing what’s best for the people, not special interests or corporations, but the ordinary people who are really affected by these Elections.

The Democrats took control of the house of representatives and according to U.S. News, 31% of voters from the 18 to 29 age range voted in the 2018 midterms, that’s a 10% higher turnout than the 2014 midterms. Younger people mostly voted Democrat because of social issues and their dissatisfaction with the Trump administration, the article stated.

A record breaking turnout for young voters is a huge step in the right direction for the country, I just hope that the SHS students who could’ve voted took advantage of an important privilege. After all, it is our future we’re voting on.

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