By Cathy Wang | Staff Writer
The Midterm Elections, held on November 4, got students excited to volunteer for the congressmen Ro Khanna and Mike Honda’s campaigns. However, few Irvington seniors actually voted. Although the main reason was that not all students had turned 18 yet, many shared thoughts on other reasons why young people might not be voting.
Like most decisions they make, students’ first thought is academics. Senior Spencer Buchanan elaborated, “We are loaded down with too much stuff like QUEST, retaking [the] SAT, and other classes. We just care about that more than voting.” With advanced classes and projects, seniors especially don’t have the time to follow politics and vote.
Some people don’t plan on voting because politics simply doesn’t suit them. Senior Zoeanne Juang said, “I don’t think I’ll ever vote in the presidential elections because those don’t really affect me. But the smaller ones, like in the state or city, I might. For me, I pay attention to events that I’m passionate about or that can relate to my personal life. When the sequester budget cuts last year cut funding for cancer research, I paid attention to that.” Many national issues only have an indirect impact on everyday citizens.
Furthermore, not everyone has the comprehensive knowledge of political issues needed to make responsible enough decisions. Juang agreed, “I feel like the voting age is too young because I know a lot of seniors who, to be honest, aren’t all that mature.”
Freshman Steven Li also said, “When I turn 18, I do not plan on voting because at that time my judgment of each presidential candidate won’t be very good, [and] I don’t want to wrongly represent the people.” However, he thinks it’s a responsibility for citizens to represent their country and he plans on voting in the future.
On the other hand, some express interest in voting in a few years. Students like junior Jessica Oo emphasized the importance of having people’s opinions be heard. “I am excited that they [my peers] will be able to vote because I know a lot of people who have a lot of interesting opinions and ideas.” Oo said. “I hope that these people will be fully informed of what they are voting for and make good decisions that will be beneficial for everyone.”
Sophomore Owen Shen strongly believed that people should exercise the right to vote, as he said, “I believe voting is one form of social empowerment. Few people understand what a privilege it is to be able to influence the way your life is governed, in a [relatively] true and honest way. There is always the ‘other people will do it so I do not need to,’ but that is quite an irresponsible viewpoint to take.” Overall, it appears that students may not be ready to vote when they turn 18, but they definitely want to express their opinions to positively influence society however they can.