First Time Voters

Several seniors will be able to vote in this year’s presidential election.


Carmen Peterson

Voting is a very big responsibility that can be very stressful for first-time voters. This can spark a variety of different emotions, as such a big decision should.  As high school seniors start turning 18, they will be faced with a very important question: do they vote?

While going through the voting process, it is easy to become overwhelmed or feel pressured. Seniors are suddenly given a new type of freedom that allows them to express their opinions. Along with voting, there are etiquette guidelines that are encouraged to follow. For example, discussing one’s political views in line. Some find this inappropriate, others are completely fine with it. Similar situations in voting are also based on personal beliefs. However, some rules have to be followed, despite personal opinions. An example of these requirements is taking a ballot selfie,  which is illegal in Missouri. 

As the recent debates get more heated, everyone’s opinions become more apparent. To many, voting is extremely important. 

Teacher Tina Boehm said, “It’s your responsibility as a United States member of society. A lot of people have fought long and hard to make sure that everybody has a right to vote.” 

When Boehm turned 18, Jimmy Carter was representing the Democratic party against Gerald Ford, a Republican. While the presidential election was happening, there were protests and marches organized by activists for youth voting rights. 

“This was during the Vietnam War,” Boehm said. 

 While people were voicing their opinions in marches then, most people at this time take to social media to share their thoughts. 

“Social media definitely has more of an impact now,” Boehm said. “There is so much bias and misinformation out there.”

 Social media allows everyone to share their opinion and has changed all the elections that Boehm has voted in. 

From the perspective of a new voter, 18-year-old student Luke Longtin is ready for his voice to be heard. 

“(I’m) both nervous and excited. I’m excited but my options this year aren’t that great. This election is pretty special.” 

Longtin has done his research about the background of the candidates and has learned everything he knows about voting from his parents. 

“You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” Longtin said. 

 Longtin has prepared to vote by watching the recent debates and is a registered voter. 

Voting allows citizens to voice their opinions and let them impact their democracy. 

“In a democracy, people get to select their leaders, government, and representatives. Or they get to vote directly on issues that are important to them,” teacher Steven Roedersheimer said.  

When voting, it is crucial to fully understand what is on the ballot. Research should be done and etiquette should be followed to ensure the easiest first experience for voters. 

While voting can be intimidating, it is important to know that your voice will be heard and it is your own decision to make. 

Longtin said, “By voting, you’re getting your voice out there and showing what you stand for.”