Students in Southmoreland’s advanced placement government class were given the opportunity to get involved with the process of the midterm elections. It educated the students not only about how local polling places run such a strict government election, but also the importance of voting in general and what drives people to the polls.
One of the few volunteers, senior Larisa Lombardo, said she saw a correlation between the state of American society and the high response of young voters from our community this year.
“I was surprised to see how many people came to vote in just one ward,” Lombardo said. She commented that despite living in a small community, information she learned in advanced placement government class indicated a rise in millenial voters compared to what is typically expected at the midterms. “With the help of celebrities and society itself, this trend occurred nationwide.”
TargetSmart, a political-data-analysis firm, showed that the young-adult turnout increased by 188 percent in early voting compared with 2014. Meaning, 3.3 million more people ranging from 18-29 years old voted early, and after the election, the young adults proved to be 13 percent of the electorate as compared to 11 percent in 2014.
Tanner Skovira, 22, found himself at the voting polls Tuesday afternoon.
“It gives people a say in who governs them,” said Skovira, a Southmoreland graduate, who commented after voting. “Even if one vote doesn’t seem like much, they add up.”
Southmoreland students have shown more interest than ever in this year’s midterm elections. Southmoreland senior Quay Akins talked about why voting was significant to him and what drove him to vote this year.
“Voting is just one way in which I feel like I can influence, however miniscule, the political climate and general well-being of America,” Akins said. “The 2016 election has been a cause of great distress for many people all around the U.S., young people especially, simply because this has been the most divided and chaotic in the minds of many citizens, period in the past 20 years. At the time, many of us young people felt helpless, and now that many of us can vote, we have made it a necessity to go out and vote.”
“I’m impressed and excited about how many seniors wanted to participate in the election process,” said AP government teacher Ms. Jennifer Tacconi. “I’m happy that they want to be involved at such a young age, and I think it was a rewarding experience for them.”
When voters were asked if they could change anything about the political landscape in today’s society, a common answer referred to the extreme division between political parties currently dividing the American people.
“The partisan ‘us against them’ mindset that the political parties seem to have needs to change,” Skovira said.
“I would like to try and find a way to remove the division there is right now,” said senior Genesis Harshell. “ It feels like everyone is at each other’s throats. If you are affiliated with a different political party, people become defensive of their own without even knowing your beliefs. We need politicians who aren’t trying to defend their party, but at least hear both sides and respect the opposition.”
The significance of voting has in not only the students of Southmoreland, but across the nation. One vote may not seem like a lot, but when the power of the people is limited, it is one way to still contribute to the future. Many people believe that voting is a right that all people, young and old, should take advantage of.
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