Seniors register to vote in presidential election

Ann Pomeroy, Newtonian Editor-in-Chief

Many seniors are faced with a difficult decision this November. As their 18th birthday’s fly by they gain new responsibilities and opportunities. One major opportunity for the legal adults in the class of 2021 is the choice whether or not to vote in the 2020 election.

No matter one’s political viewpoint, most everyone knows how important it is for citizens of the United States to participate in voting and let their voices be heard. According to National Public Radio, in the 2016 presidential election only 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots.

I want to take part in the voting for the next president of the United States, I have a voice and I feel like I should use it,” senior John Koontz said. “Take pride in the country you live in, and register in order to make it a better place for you and others.”

Koontz registered to vote in the election towards the end of July. Although he was always planning to participate in the election, the unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to his urge to want to have his voice heard.

“I was always going to register to vote, but the fact that COVID happened and could have been handled better and the fact that police brutality is still happening make for extra voting motivation,” Koontz said.

According to The Conversation, the U.S. has one of the lowest rates of youth voter turnout in the world. With evidence and statistics from Super Tuesday, the 2020 presidential election is even worse than in previous years with only 1 in 5 young people casting ballots in their state’s primary. 

“Young people should register because they have a voice in determining who leads their country, and they should use it,” Koontz said. “I would like to see more of my class registering to vote.” 

Similar to Koontz, senior Trey Swingle registered far in advance of the Kansas voter registration deadline. Swingle voices that it is important for youth to register because it adds a new viewpoint in which politicians have to take into consideration to receive the youth vote. 

“Democracy is the cornerstone of our society,” Swingle said. “Why not exercise our rights given to us by our founding fathers, I was glad to be given the ability to vote in this election cycle.”

According to a survey of NHS seniors, 88% are not registered to vote. Although some were not of legal voting age, this number is higher than the national average. According to FairVoter, approximately 40% of eligible voters do not participate in presidential elections

“My decision to register mainly stems from my love of policy debate,” Swingle said. “It taught me how to interact with others and how the government interacts with me. Knowing that the government affects everyone even at the local level. Why would you not vote?

Koontz decided to vote through a mail in ballot because it is more convenient for him. Swingle on the other hand has decided to vote in person.

“I decided to vote in-person,” Swingle said. “The reason for this is that the alternatives only cause problems. Mail in voting has led to votes not being counted. Online voting hasn’t been tested enough and most security experts advise against it. With that being said the only other alternative would be in person voting.”

No matter whether in person, online, or by mail, the registration deadline for Kansas voters is Oct. 13. Election day this year will be Nov. 3. 

“Vote for what you believe,” Swingle said. “Don’t think about it as voting for the lesser of two evils, that is how morally horrendous people get elected.”

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