Under 18? You are not off the hook
Many people know about the upcoming midterm elections that are taking place on November 6th. Many citizens plan to exercise their right to vote, a privilege given to American citizens over the age of 18. But for younger people, engaging in politics is a less clear path. Many underage people have the mindset of if we can’t vote, we can’t help. But fellow youth; you are not off the hook.
Many people have credited the importance of this election on unchecked power. Lily Bowman (‘21) states that “if Democrats do not take control of Congress, Donald Trump’s administration will continue to have unchecked power.” Checks and balances are one of the key foundational tenets of American democracy and without them, our democracy could cease to function. Many people are calling this election a referendum on Trump’s presidency. In fact, the Democrats are hoping for a “blue wave”. A “blue wave” is a massive democratic voter turnout that would put the Democrats in the majority in the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.
Now that we covered why this midterm matters, we have to put our future voters to work. From canvassing in swing districts like Bay Ridge and Staten Island to simply texting or phone banking, Packer students have the resources to make a substantial impact on the results of the midterms.
If you are looking for the most profound way to impact these elections, studies show that face to face conversations while canvassing has the most impact on voter turnout. Statistics show that just by canvassing and having those discussions with people in an area, the voting turnout increases as much as 20%. Helping to improve voter turnout is so crucial because on average, only 40% of eligible voters actually vote during midterms.
Some advice from politically active peers is to educate yourselves. Particularly because we are living in the liberal bubble of New York City, potentially our families and the Packer community. Abe Rothstein (‘21) urges us to “learn what you are fighting for and fighting against”. Frayda Lieber (‘21) expands by stating that “if we educate ourselves now, later on when you do get the chance to vote, you can make educated votes”.
There is such a wealth of resources to educate yourself. Read different newspapers that run the spectrum of conservative to liberal. Listen to podcasts. Learn the history of how our government was created. Engage in discussions with different people with a diverse set of ideas. Packer high schoolers, we are the future of American voters, and we need to be engaged and informed. We have the means to be informed because we are the most technologically capable generation. We can access news from a click of a button. Even if you are not voting on November 6th, you will likely be voting in 2020 or 2022. Educate and engage yourself now so later on, you can not only make your vote count but make it well informed.