The importance of student voting

Why is voting important, and how do you vote?

Caitlin Warner, Staff Writer

When the United States was established, the founders put important laws in place that assured the American’s right to vote, although at the time it was limited to land-owning white men. Now, every U.S. citizen has a chance to express their opinion in the voting process. 

However, despite the fact that Americans have this right, many young people don’t think that it is important to vote, and they might not even know how. This year, the nation will vote for the next presidential term. The decision might not seem important to the average youth, but it shapes the nation for the next four years and affects everyone who lives in it. 

Voting is important to many people, but a problem that always arises is getting youth to be interested in it. According to Teresa Eby, a civics and economics teacher at Brighton High School, voting is important because it allows people to express themselves. 

She said, “Don’t let others be your voice, voice your choice.” 

This is reflected by some students here at BHS, too. Mary Fogg-Liedal, a senior this year, said she is voting because, “Democracy is based on people’s word, and [voting] is a way to participate in our democracy in a direct way.” 

Another senior here, Christina Morris, feels very similar. Morris is also the head of the JSA (Junior State of America) club. This club focuses on interesting students in politics and allowing for mock debates and other political processes. Morris feels it’s important to vote because, “The public needs to know what is going on, and wrong won’t be corrected without a say in the issue.” 

To convince students to vote, Eby said that helping students realize that politics impact them more than they think is a helpful step. Fogg-Liedal said she looks for many qualities in voting, including climate change positions, the candidates’ plans, and if they plan to help close the wealth gap. 

Morris, on the other hand, said she looks for the candidates’ views on human rights, and said the candidates must be against discrimination in every way. She also favors candidates who are pro diplomatic relations, but they must balance that with believing in a strong economy. 

These are just two student’s viewpoints, and every citizen has different things that they look for when they choose who they will vote for. The important thing is figuring out what is important and finding candidates who stand by those things. 

Knowing what is being voted on is an important step in the process. On Nov. 3, 2020, the nation will vote for their next president. Although the candidates are not yet decided, there are lots of people running. 

Right now, for Republicans, Donald Trump is the incumbent choice, which means he is already in the office. Running against him are Bill Weld and Joe Walsh. For the Democrats, there is a massive amount of people running. At the lead in polls are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, although there are many more running. 

To decide the candidates, each state has a primary or caucus that is based on popular vote to decide which candidate will be the head of the party for the election. Michigan’s primary is on March 10, 2020. 

Registering to vote is the next important step. According to Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§ 168.492, .498 (West), a citizen in Michigan can register to vote when they are 17 and a half years old and can vote when they turn 18. 

To register, follow this link, or go to your local clerk’s office in person. For Brighton, the clerk is Tara Brown. Click here for her email.  

There will be a voter registration day at BHS in the fall of 2020 to get students prepared to vote. During the actual day, the precinct will be the BECC building for students who live in Brighton and will be open from 7 AM until 8 PM.