Teachers encourage teens to vote in midterm elections


Staff Photo by Ashley Masingale

For students new to voting, research skills are essential.

Ryanne Howard, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The November midterm elections are quickly approaching. In North Carolina, constitutional amendments, all politicians in the House of Representatives, some senators, N.C. General Assembly and seats on N.C. Court of Appeals will all be on the ballot. In a nation that prides itself with being for the people by the people, it is essential to consider youth voters taking part in their first election.

“Politics matters because us young people are always talking about changing society and fixing all of the world’s problems,” senior Sabrina Hurtado said. “You need to accomplish small subgoals to get to these types of big goals.”

Since the 2016 presidential election, the nation has seen an increase in teens sharing their opinions. Hurtado is very active in the Wakefield community. As a junior, she organized the March for Our Lives Wakefield Walk-Out. She believes in the value of teen voices. Although she is not going to vote in the upcoming elections due to age, she is planning to continue the momentum from the march.

Midterm elections are important because they determine the makeup of Congress. Contrasting from presidential elections, citizens are able to vote in their senators and representatives without the interference of the Electoral College. This influences how effective the president is when passing new laws. Currently, Republicans are the majority party in Congress. However, historically during the midterm elections, the opposite party tends to flip Congress.

“A lot of people see the presidential elections as a big, important thing but, in all reality, the people that have more influence [on us] are state and local leaders,” civics teacher, Garth Sweredoski said.

As a Civics and Economics teacher, Sweredoski gets to teach students how their government works. By informing the youth, it will prepare them on how to be a responsible and productive member in society.

Due to the interference in the 2016 presidential election, some voters are skeptical on how outside factors can manipulate the outcome of the election. Young people are also exposed to factors that could affect their vote. Influential celebrities, including Taylor Swift and Kanye West, are stating their political views. Adolescents are faced with components such as social media, peer pressure, and parental influence.

Senior Zak Keravuori will be participating in his first election. He believes that teens’ voices matter because our vote will shape the outlook on adulthood.

“Our generation is all about social media. If we see a lot of [political ads] it can influence us,” Zak Keravuori said. “If we see someone famous saying a lot of [political] things, it’s the first thing that comes to our phone when we get on social media.”

Many issues will be on the minds of voters that will determine who they will vote for. Gun control, immigration, taxes, and health care are just some of the of the topics that will influence voters on which candidate they will choose.

Wakefield librarian Dorothy Corrigan has always acted on her duty to vote. She has not missed an election in 30 years and feels that this midterm is the most important election that she will participate in.

If teenagers don’t understand the process and understand that every vote counts, it’s likely that other people will make a lot of decisions for them”

— Corrigan

,” Corrigan said.

Unfortunately, the deadline to register for Election Day has already passed, and those who still want to partake in the election can still vote! During early voting, October 17 through November 3, you can register at the polls, but you must vote that same day.

Voters must go to their designated location in the morning, as this is the only place they are able to vote. To find out your polling site, visit www.wakegov.com. For students, Wake County Public School System reported there will be a two-hour delay to facilitate voting. Once at the location on Nov. 6, voters are required to sign in, and an attendant will be there to give you a ballot to confidentially fill out. At the end of the process, voters feed the ballot to a counting machine and will be given the iconic ‘I voted’ sticker.

“The division between the political parties has never been so stark and vitriolic. That’s not how it should be,” Corrigan said. “I think that we should vote for candidates that will change that.”

If a citizen hasn’t turned 18 yet or did not register, there are still ways that people can get involved with politics. All government members work for the people, so let your opinion be heard. Teens can write letters, or visit offices in Washington D.C. Everyone is ruled by national policies, so why not participate to shape it. Sweredski gives advice to students that knowledge is power.

“Be aware of what’s going, all the news,” Sweredoski said. “The smarter you are the better off you’ll be. You never know when knowledge will come in handy,”