The value of the vote


Maggie O'Hara and Nicole Poitras

Thousands of voters will hit the booths on February 9, will you?

Maggie O'Hara and Nicole Poitras

As this year’s election rapidly approaches, politics have been the focus of almost every media outlet. With young adults being immersed in political hoopla now more than ever, many HBHS students are beginning to consider whether or not they want to take part in voting. How important is it for young people to be involved in their country’s decisions?

Many students feel that because they are so young, their votes don’t matter. “Because of the Electoral College; it’s kind of an illusion to make us feel like our vote counts,” said Jackie Haytayan ‘17.  According to the US Census Bureau, “Younger Americans have consistently under-voted at the polls relative to their eligibility.”

Infographic created by Nicole Poitras

But doesn’t every vote matter? Why is it that so many young Americans feel that it’s not worth their time?

It’s important for students to recognize that voting is part of their duties as an American citizen. Katie Henderson, a US History, Civics, and Economics teacher at HB said that “being an informed citizen is a huge part of why we educate kids in the first place… I feel if you don’t vote you kind of give up the right to complain.”

“We should have the feeling that ‘I can do something too.’ [Voting] affects everything, from how schools are funded to the goods and services that we all need,” said Jennifer Given, one of HB’s Social Studies teachers.

Electing an official such as the President of the United States is an immense decision which can’t be taken lightly. Once voted into office, the president will lead our country for four years and impact every aspect of our future. Without our input, our opinions will be lost in the sea of other voters. “Kids have different, but equally valuable, concerns as those who have been voting for a while,” Given stated.

It is clear from the statistics of the last election that there is a large discrepancy between the amount of young and older people voting. “Older Americans have been more inclined to vote at higher rates than their share of the eligible population. Overall, the voting rate gap between younger and older voters narrowed in the elections of 2004 and 2008, but opened up again in 2012,” as stated by the US Census Bureau.

However, what young people must realize is that “every vote matters in an election,” as stated  by Cam Jackson ‘16. “If you look at the recent election in Manchester for the office of mayor, [the election] was decided by 75 votes! That really goes to show you that there are close elections…and you need to be aware of that, and you need to say, ‘Wow… I could be that vote that really counts.’”