WS students’ take on voting

West+Springfield+High+School+on+the+eve+of+the+2020+election.

Courtesy of Joseph Triolo

West Springfield High School on the eve of the 2020 election.

Joseph Triolo, News Editor

The election is just hours away and candidates are making their final pitches. Many seniors of age at WSHS are gearing up and excited to head to the ballot box for their first time. “Yes,” said senior Andrew Muir when asked about if he will be voting, “to express my right as a US citizen to express my political beliefs.” 

“Yes, because it will have a significant impact,” said senior Miles Saunders. These teens are following a trend that can be seen around the nation. According to TargetEarly, a Democratic political data firm, the voter turnout amongst 18-29 years old increased from 10.5% to 12.4% so far.

While many seniors may want to vote, not everyone can due to the voting age being 18, “I will not because I am 17 at the time of the election,” said senior Tara Whipkey. 

“No,” said senior Emily Gooding when asked the same question, “unfortunately I am not old enough to be eligible to vote in the 2020 election.”

While they may not all be able to vote this year, they all agree that voting is an important form of engagement in a democracy. “Voting is very important. It’s a key factor in democracy, and let’s the people choose who their leader is,” said junior Denver Martin. 

“Yes,” senior Joe Kimball said, “as [voting] allows people to come together and decide who will lead their country.”

While many find voting important, many also believe that the current system is not fair, “I think that our voting system is unfair, and broken beyond belief. Voting stations close too early, and are difficult to find in some places. The electoral college system is ridiculous, and it results in most campaigns only visiting a few swing states,” said junior Jonathan Peterson.

“The electoral college,” said senior Charles Heinbaugh, “gives a disproportionate amount of influence to areas of less importance.” 

“I don’t think our voting system is fair because it makes it hard for third party candidates to get a leg up in the system. Ranked choice voting would be much better because it makes it easier for third party candidates, who often better represent the will of the people,” said senior Jackie Tarrant. Many Americans agree that the Electoral College is a problem. In fact, according to a Pew Research poll, 58% of Americans believe that the Electoral College should be repealed and replaced with the popular vote.

“Ranked choice voting,” said senior Oscar Vargas-Vargas proposing a solution to the American electoral process, “it is a state level change, not national. we can make this change on state at a time it is far easier than electoral college.”

There are, however, many people who believe that the system is fair, “I would say it is rather fair as far as the mechanics go,” said junior Ben McGarry, ”but the fact that there’s only 2 parties that ever get a chance at winning is unfair.”

“According to the information I already know about our voting system,” said junior Lydia Ferguson, “I believe our voting system is fair. This is because our voting system allows most of the population to vote (as there are a few circumstances in which certain people such as felons cannot vote), meaning that ideally, nearly all of the country’s people above a certain age contribute to the overall national opinion on who should lead the country.” 

Many of those who were surveyed reiterated why voting counts in their closing remarks. “People who don’t vote have no right to complain about the government/laws passed/etc.,” said senior Carolina Abad.

“This election could cause this country to fall apart if things don’t go well,” said junior Samantha Woodworth reiterating the view that both sides claim in this race.