As 2020 comes to its final months, we have one event that can define the years to come: The Presidential Election. The heated campaigns are between Republican, Incumbent-President Donald Trump, and Democratic Candidate, Former Vice President Joe Biden, along with their Vice Presidents, Vice President Mike Pence, and Senator Kamala Harris, respectively. Those in high school are a part of the age group with the lowest voter turnout. With little time left until the election, it is imperative for everyone to understand that their vote matters. As I am unable to vote, I set off to speak to some people who can.
I first spoke with Mrs. Epstein, Supervisor of the Social Studies department. She offered her opinion on the matter of the importance of voting: “It is important for people to exercise their right to vote because their vote is their voice in our democracy..If voter turnout is small, it means that only a small group of Americans are making their voices heard and that is not a true democracy.” I also spoke to Alejandra Lopez (Class of 2019), member of the age group with the lowest voting turnout. She says, “If you don’t vote, you’re forfeiting your voice in the direction you want our country to go.” Alejandra also believes that it is important to register to vote, as she says, “there’s no reason to not be registered”. The importance of voting is not only something that needs to be recognized on a local level, but a national one as well. Mrs. Epstein mentioned, “Sadly, the youngest voters have the lowest numbers of voter turnout. We want that to change!”
While many of us at Park Ridge High School are unable to vote in this election, save for the few seniors whose birthdays are before it, we are still able to vote in our school-wide mock election. I spoke to Mrs. Epstein on this matter as well: “Mock elections are a great way for students to practice what it is like to cast a vote for a candidate…School is the place where you learn about the things you will apply to the rest of your life.” While this is a standard process that adults are used to, children and teenagers are not accustomed to it. Like Mrs. Epstein said, it is a great way for us to practice for when we can vote.
Be confident and make your voice heard through either our school-wide mock election, or, if you are eligible, the 2020 Presidential Election. The future of our country depends on its voters and your vote is your voice.