On Election Day, many seniors get the chance to cast their very first vote in a national election. This year, the presidential ballot consists of incumbent Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Students born in September through early November of 2002 will have the privilege to finally be able to cast their ballot. After years of sitting in class and learning about the process, these seniors are getting the chance to contribute to the decisions.
“It’s terrifying. There are so many things to vote on. When you grow up you just think, ‘Oh, they’re voting for the president.’ No, you have to vote on forty people,” said Mt. Hebron senior Emily Bernstein.
When asked how it felt being able to vote, Mt. Hebron’s Elliott Hooper said, “I felt empowered, really. When I had the ballot and was signing it I was like, ‘I’m doing something.’ I’m making a change. It may be small and I may lose, but at least I’m contributing.”
During an election year, not only do U.S. citizens have to keep an eye out for which presidential and vice-presidential candidates they would like to vote for, but also the state representatives in Congress, four different judges, and local county executives. Bernstein explained how she wasn’t too excited about all the responsibility that comes with a ballot, but knows how important the privilege is.
Bernstein also talked about the worrying potential of the candidate you voted for getting elected and then messing up. You might feel as though you had contributed to the mistakes. Thinking about this theoretical outcome could be worrying, making many young people opt out of voting in general.
“Voting does more good than harm,” Hooper mentioned, saying people should vote even if they think it’s not important.
Bernstein agreed, stating, “If you don’t vote, what’s the point? Being able to vote is one of the huge things about citizenship.”
Being able to vote is a big responsibility, and a right that many people have fought for. As important as it is, first-time voters can feel a bit overwhelmed.
“I’m not sure,” Mt. Hebron senior Alanna Reid replied when asked how she felt about being able to vote. “My vote probably won’t even matter because of the electoral college.”
Many might remember this being the case in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote, but due to the electoral college, Donald J. Trump was elected president.
“Our generation is gonna be the generation that makes changes, as we’ve seen through the many acts of Gen Z,” Reid explains as her reason to still vote.
Due to the global pandemic, voters are being encouraged to use the mail-in ballot to cast their vote. Both Hooper and Reid said they will be casting their votes through the mail, but as a precaution, Bernstein said she is still going to go to the polls in person.
“There are two possible outcomes. One party is trying to get rid of mail-in voting and their argument is it’s very easy to hack and to mess up the results,” Bernstein said.
Throughout the country, many Americans have been expressing their concerns with mail-in voting. The main worry is ballots getting lost in the mail and not getting counted. Because of this, the polls are still gathering crowds.
With as much uncertainty as there is with this years’ election, Reid and Bernstein still express excitement for Election Day.
Whereas many focus on the presidential election, Bernstein’s excitement lies with other candidates.
“The local politics is what I’m really worried about because I have to live here a little while longer,” Bernstein said.
November 3 is Election Day, when many Mt. Hebron students, alumni, and parents will be given the opportunity to vote. Remember to cast your ballot in 2020!