Should Our Opinions Matter?
November 8, 2018
Should Our Opinions Matter?
This year’s midterm elections have many voters divided, and while the President isn’t elected during midterms, there are many congressional seats being battled over and several important local initiatives from the environment to soda tax being determined. This leaves many wondering how do people choose who and what to vote for?
This is even true at Prep, and while most students can’t vote, most do have a wide range of opinions. Whether it’s from families or annoying popup ads on YouTube. Every issue has the yes’s and no’s, and all students convinced that they are on the “right side”. With all of this passion and discussion there are two incredible facts, only 40% of Americans vote in midterm elections and no matter how much we talk about politics the voting age is 18.
Prep Government teachers Ms. Healy and Ms. Slack, shared their perspectives on how they thought elections and campaigning would change if the voting age was lowered.
Healy said “I actually do think it would have an impact because people who are younger tend to be more liberal, and in general, if the voter turnout was higher than typical we might get a broader range. Studies have shown that more older people vote.”
If more high schoolers were allowed to vote it would make a more inclusive democracy. This also relates to the issue of how many high schoolers are influenced politically via many different forms of media, Slack thought that,
“…young people don’t vote because they don’t feel like voting matters in their day to day life, and they don’t get very much information, and part of it depends on how much they know. We are so inundated with so many forms of media including social media that often it’s difficult to weed through the stories about what celebrities are doing instead of reading about political policies and what is going on with our government.”
This way of informing teenagers about politics with social media, could be a path to engaging an impressionable younger generation. This would most likely be one of the many changes that would occur if high schoolers were allowed to vote, social media advertisements could become the main form of advertising and sharing of political information.
If high schoolers were given more information about what’s going on in our government, and more reasons and opportunities to engage, then it makes sense to include a whole new group of diverse voters.
Freshman John Calvert agreed that, “You’d see a rise of politics in schools, with campaign posters popping in schools. Also, I think you’d specifically see more politicians target high schoolers, as they are the most susceptible voters.”
Further, if students were supported by their family and encouraged by the school to investigate issues, attend rallies and hear candidates speak, with ads and info available on social media it seems reasonable to expect higher voter turnout. If high schoolers were allowed to vote it would also cause politicians to have new legislations and polices be created relating to school funding, gun control, and other issues more closely related to younger generations. This foresight is most likely accurate, but only time will tell as little by little people begin to think about what impact high schoolers could have on the political world and public policy.