To Vote, or not to Vote


FHC senior Hannah Ploof holds that voting is a “necessary right” of Americans. To her, “it’s dumb to not exercise the rights” that are bestowed upon Americans.

“I think that the government controls you,” Ploof said, “and being politically active makes it so you can control the people that are controlling you, in turn controlling yourself.”

Ploof’s stance brings up the classic question that evidently splits Americans: Is voting worth it? According to 45% of Americans, it is not; the turnout of the 2012 election saw only 55% of Americans voting.

This low level of participation can be attributed to multiple factors, the most observable for high schoolers most likely being political apathy. Some students simply do not believe that their vote matters.

Ally Fitzgerald is another FHC senior who is eligible to vote in the coming election. However, according to her, if she were to vote in the fall or in the upcoming Michigan primary, her vote “would be an empty vote, basically.”

“If you genuinely aren’t interested [in politics],” Fitzgerald said, “and don’t have a side on issues or anything, and you don’t want to make the effort to try to get educated, I don’t think it’s very necessary [to vote]. It’d just be a waste of time.”

Contrary to this, Ploof justified her own voter’s registration by stating that “being too busy” or too lazy for politics is saying that “you’re too busy to make decisions about your own life.”

Regardless of business, an argument persists that states the choice to vote should be entirely optional, such as that made by AP US Government teacher Jeff Manders.

“It is your opportunity to vote,” Manders said, “but it’s also your opportunity not to vote. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, if you don’t feel comfortable voting, and if you don’t feel informed enough. That’s how things are organized here in this country.”

Although Manders upholds the individual choice of each prospective voter, he recommends that voters actually look into the elections before them, despite their schedules.

“In the grand scheme of things,” Manders said, “it doesn’t take that much time to do a little research on the candidates, and one day, one hour out of your day, actually go and vote. It would be nice to see if more 18 year olds would go and vote, since their age group is typically among the lowest voter turnout in this country… with this election that is going on with as much media attention as it’s getting, I don’t know how you choose not to vote.”