Voting isn’t something new to Cowboys. Every year, CCHS students have the opportunity to vote for class officers, homecoming court and Student Government Association (SGA) officers. But for the Cowboys that have already turned 18, this week provided an opportunity to finally cast a ballot that could affect the entire nation.
On Tuesday, October 30, CCHS held an early voting field trip. For the eligible voters on campus, this was a chance to be one of the millions participating in the 2018 midterm elections. Though this is not a presidential election year, there are still many important federal, state and local races.
On the website for the United States government, eligible voters can find a list of the races occurring this year, including all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, one-third of U.S. senators and 36 state governors.
National Honor Society (NHS) sponsor and Spanish teacher Lindsay Roberts, who attended the early voting field trip, emphasized the importance of eligible voters taking the chance to be involved in the election process. Earlier this school year, as well as in years past, NHS has held voter registration drives to promote civic engagement.
“We want to encourage young voters to get to the polls and have their voices be heard.”
“We thought that offering early voting was an important opportunity for the students because we want to encourage young voters to get to the polls and have their voices be heard,” Roberts said.
Despite the major impacts that representatives, senators and governors can have on federal and state legislation, voter turnout in midterm election years has historically been lower than in presidential election years.
As stated by FairVote, about 60 percent of the voting eligible population votes in the presidential elections, while only about 40 percent vote in the midterm elections. Youth voter turnout has been of special concern in recent years, considering that Millennials are approaching Baby Boomers in percentage of the American electorate. Due to the power that young voters will continue to have in national elections, many have been turning their attention to youth voter turnout.
A poll conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics found that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they will “definitely vote” in the midterms. While this statistic is significantly higher than those found during the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, it’s also not a sure sign that youth voter turnout will be especially high because the actual turnout is typically lower than such polls indicate it will be.
Yet numerous organizations, such as Rock the Vote, are trying once again to increase voter turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds. One organization that is new to the election scene is March For Our Lives (MFOL), an organization founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School student Cameron Kasky.
“It … felt great knowing that I was fulfilling my civic duty and making a difference.”
In the past several months, MFOL has been promoting voting through social media, a national tour called “Road to Change” and even t-shirts that, when scanned with a QR code scanner will direct people to online voter registration.
Although such organizations may try to entice young eligible voters with media campaigns featuring celebrities and pop culture references, some young voters feel that voting is simply a duty to be fulfilled by responsible citizens, rather than a glamorous or particularly exciting event.
“It was an anticlimactic experience as a first-time voter,” senior Dillon Weiss said. “I was expecting this incredible event but really it felt just like any other test. However, it still felt great knowing that I was fulfilling my civic duty and making a difference.”
No matter how Cowboys feel about voting, CCHS has shown through this field trip that it recognizes the importance of getting young voters to the polls. On November 6, those who attended the field trip will be able to see how their vote compared to those cast around the nation.
Photo by Genna Nordling