The Lion's Roar

You Have A Voice, Use It

Jessica Rech '16, Staff Writer

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The craze of the 2016 presidential election has kept most United States citizens on the tips of their toes, regardless of whether they are eligible to vote. Though the majority of West students are not eligible to vote, many seniors are. With this eligibility, these seniors must choose whether they wish to vote or not.

To understand where some seniors fall in regard to the decision to vote, I asked fourteen seniors at random whether they were eligible to vote in this year’s presidential election, or if they were not, whether they would vote if they were able. I also asked why they would choose to vote or not vote, as well as who they would vote for.

Five people of the fourteen I asked have decided that they would not vote in the primaries in the summer or in November. Majorily, the reason for this decision is a lack of knowledge on the presidential candidates and the election itself. “I do not have enough knowledge to make a decision like that,” says Claudia, and “I was never into politics.”

While these students have not actively kept up with the election, they are also just “not into politics,” as Tiffany and Cameron believe, or think that voting takes “too much effort,” as Chris says. Politics, to Frankie, is also simply not “interesting, since every candidate says they have the same goals, but never do anything about it.”

On the contrary, nine out the fourteen seniors would like to vote in this election. Out of those who did know who they would like to vote for, five hope that they can vote for Bernie Sanders as their next president, while one hopes to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Nick wishes to vote because he believes that “it is the only power [he] has in the government” because one does not “have the right to complain about the country if [one] doesn’t vote to change it.” While Arianna and Uyen would “vote for the future of America” because “every vote counts” and Greg believes that to vote is “to be a responsible citizen” and Christina believes voting will “better our country.” Vivian, who moved to moved to the United States from Myanmar, wishes to vote “because in [her] country [she] was deprived of voting rights.”

Though voting is a right and those eligible are not forced to vote, the phrase “every vote counts” has great value.

As well as talking some of the senior class, I also interviewed United States history teacher Mr. Bova on his views on those eligible at West voting in the election.

To vote, says Mr. Bova, is a “responsibility of all citizens to participate in, but it is a responsibility that comes with enlightenment.” This ‘enlightenment’ is the ability for citizens to “vote on their own accord and be informed.” However, Mr. Bova believes that “students aren’t informed enough on the election.” He thinks that students, as well as all citizens, need to find information that is “not filtered and not prepackaged” so that they will be able to create their own personal view on the election and vote with this view, instead of the along with the views of friends or family members.

As well as forming their own opinion on who they want to vote for in the election, it is important that West students do vote. “If [students] continually don’t vote,” says Mr. Bova, ” they’ll be continually ignored.” Being apart of the new generation, each proposal made by the presidential candidates will affect students the most in the long run. “Without [students] participation, it is going to be a disaster,” says Mr. Bova, because if young eligible voters do not vote, nothing in this country will change, or those who continue to vote are unlikely to bring new political views to the table and will vote for candidates still stuck in a mindset of older times. The generation that includes West’s seniors is a generation filled of new and radical views that will not come into effect unless those with these views vote.

Every year, The United States and it’s people are changing and becoming a new country that is filled with different kinds of people and different kinds of views. If those who are bringing these changes do not vote when they have the option, the country will fall behind, unchanging even if their views continue to involve.


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You Have A Voice, Use It