The upcoming 2020 election brings up different viewpoints on voting among the senior class

The upcoming 2020 election brings up different viewpoints on voting among the senior class

Christopher Newport University

Senior Tony DiMeglio is highly passionate about politics.

To him, it should not even be a question to the new group of eighteen-year-olds as to whether or not they should vote. For Tony, the answer is quite simple; he believes that every person who has the opportunity to vote should exercise that power.

“If you want to complain about how things are running, or how your society is running, in order to get that credibility, you have to vote,” Tony said. “You have to at least try to do your civil liberty by voting because that’s the primary power that you have. You can’t necessarily just go around complaining about things if you didn’t even try to have an opinion on it.”

Others, however, feel quite the opposite of what Tony believes. 

It was recorded by the United States Census Bureau that 61.4 percent of those eligible to vote chose not to. The reason why these voters choose not to vote is quite varied. In a poll taken by the Pew Research Center in 2017, they asked why those who didn’t vote did so. It was reported that 25 percent of those asked responded that they did not vote due to their dislike in either the candidates or campaign issues. It was also recorded that 15 percent felt as though their vote was unneeded, or that it didn’t matter.

For many students at FHC, they are finding themselves in the same situation as the 61.4 percent who choose not to vote. However, their issue is not based on whether they like the candidates or their campaigns, as the final candidates have not been chosen yet. Their main source of worry is due to the lack of knowledge they feel they have relating to the politics involved in electing the new president of the United States.

This rings true for senior Andrea Wang; however, she is already attempting to make strides in her knowledge surrounding politics to better prepare herself for the November election.

“I am considering voting,” Andrea said. “I don’t think I’m informed enough to make an educated decision right now, but I’m taking AP Government this semester, so hopefully that will give me more awareness on political and current events.”

Other than her AP Government class, Andrea also plans on taking other steps to further her knowledge about the candidates for the presidential election, as well as what they are planning to do.

My dad is pretty up-to-date with current news and politics,” Andrea said. “So, sometimes I’ll ask him what’s going on or he might comment about something, and I will [think] I didn’t know that was going on right now.

With the abundance of reasons why one would choose not to vote, there is also a large group of people who believe voting is necessary like Tony does. Senior Katie Bethel is one of the many individuals who believe that voting is highly important for others to do.

“I feel that it is important that everyone [votes],” Katie said. “ My parents have encouraged me as well. They have just told me that you should vote because it’s important that you’re putting in your input.”

Along with a basic Google search, watching the news, and talking with family members, there are many other ways for new eighteen-year-olds to get informed about who the candidates are and what they are campaigning for.

In fact, there is an outlet for students to use right in their own school. That outlet is a club that many students participate in, including Tony, to learn about and discuss political topics. It is called PACE (Political and Current Events) club, and they strongly encourage that more people join in order to learn about what is going on in the political world around them.

“[The members of the club] come to learn about different current events both including foreign and domestic issues,” Tony said. “We have tons of presentations and discussion topics that we do weekly that hopefully get a lot of people engaged, and learn about things. Some of [the topics] do focus on certain Presidential candidates, or just Congressional candidates, so that people can really know more about who they’re going to be voting for which is a great first step.”

What happens when the time comes that one chooses to vote, yet potential voters still don’t feel as though they know enough about the topics related to the election? Many students at FHC have different opinions. Some believe that they should still vote based on prior knowledge, while others believe making a decision without a lack of knowledge may be the wrong choice.

“[The reason why I would maybe not vote would be] not knowing enough about each candidate, what they’re planning on doing, and not knowing enough about what they are doing,” Katie said. “I feel like it would [then] just be a random vote, [and that] I wouldn’t really know what I’m doing.”

For others, they believe that the only reason why they would ultimately end up voting would be due to a firm stance on whether they like one of the candidates.

“I think something [that] could influence me to vote would be a good candidate that represents what I stand for or [who] I think would be a good leader for our country,” Andrea said. “Also, someone who will actually back up what they’re saying, and not trying to win votes, but when they’re actually in office, that they’re actually going to do what they said they were going to do. I mean, it’s kind of hard to judge right now, but just someone who has good qualities to be a leader.”

There are also others, however, who believe that even a small amount of knowledge should be reason enough to vote. They believe that even if you don’t know every fact revolving around the election, doing Google searches, looking at headlines, or discussing politics in a group setting, should prepare someone enough to make an informed decision on who they believe should be the leader of the United States.

“Even doing a quick little reading of the headlines from news, turning on the news app on your phone and selecting more political news, or following some political groups or people on Instagram and Facebook,” Tony said. “That way, you can at least start getting headlines and basic information. Then, if you want to learn more [about a specific topic], you can ask someone and you have a launching point to learn more information if you ever feel like you need to. But, as long as you have just a basic understanding, you should be able to make an informed enough decision about who to vote for.”