To vote or not to vote- The ultimate dilemma


Photo Provided by Laura Neelon – First-time voter, Lucy Neelon celebrates with her mom Laura after casting her ballot on election day.

Avery Ehrman, Staff Writer

   Picture this: you just turned eighteen, you’re already registered to vote, and election day is just around the corner. People around school encourage students to pre-register and get out and vote. It’s the first time you can make a difference and participate in your democracy. There’s just one problem, when will you find time to vote? Between school, sports, and jobs, lots of people struggle to find time to vote. Voting is too essential to put off and taking a few minutes to overcome this inconvenience is a vital part of being an American citizen.

    “I think it’s essential for students to vote because the sooner a student or any individual for that matter overcomes the idea that they are just subject to somebody else’s decisions, the better,” Social Studies teacher Cristofer Wiley said. “In class, I always say we have to lose the idea that we are just people that things happen to and start to understand that they can direct those outcomes.”

    Part of practicing our right to speak up and vote is taking time to go and do it. Even if you’re in school on election day, you can still plan to vote early, request an absentee ballot, or go at some point after school or during a free period. 

    “I knew that voting was not something that was going to happen haphazardly. Circumstances arise and take your day off track,” Wiley said. “Voting is too important just to leave to chance so I made a plan early on that I would go vote downtown at the city government building on Chestnut a week ahead of Election Day.”

    Getting registered can be the hardest part for some because most aren’t taught how in schools. Something that’s not commonly known is that you can pre-register at 16 or 17 when you go to the DMV. Schools should start doing their part by encouraging pre-registration and voting for students. 

    “I think that if students were shown in schools how to register to vote, it would help,” Senior Reese Robinson said. “I know some teachers do that already, but if it was just something that we did, it could be beneficial.”

    Along with registration, the discussion of whether or not election day should be a day off for students and staff’s convenience typically arises. 

    “I think it would be preferable, quite honestly, if election day were a national holiday, it would be a nonissue,” Wiley said. “The school has had flex days and early release days built in for its purposes. I would love to start the conversation of having one of those days for election day so that teachers and students would be able to go and cast their ballots.”

    Whether or not you’re in school, voting in person, or through an absentee ballot, it is crucial to get out and vote as whoever is put in office and the decisions they make impact our everyday lives. 

    “Voting is so important that if there are hoops, then we jump through them to make sure that we’re not ignored and to make sure that our voice is heard and that our votes get counted,” Wiley said. “Students should see that these are the people who make those decisions and that their input and their investment and what they would like to see matters.”