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Seniors, rock the vote

With local elections on Nov. 7, it's crucial for seniors to participate and vote.

November 6, 2017

Hannah Goldfarb

Voting can be a daunting task. Registering, finding your polling place, and even researching the candidates can seem like a distinctly “adult” task. But this confusion shouldn’t be used as an excuse for apathy.

In 2016, a presidential election year (which generally draws higher voter turnout), only 58 percent of eligible voters in America went to the polls. Only 46 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds. Historically, it seems that young people don’t vote at the same rate as the country, or older generations.

Political scientists and the media have speculated why young people turnout at numbers so much lower than other, older, individuals. Some attribute the discrepancy to the nomadic nature of millennials lives, while others argue the lack of youth participation is a result of little voter outreach to the age group.

But these are just excuses.

It’s my contention that the decision not to vote, arguably the most essential form of democracy, is a conscious one, particularly in Minnesota.

In Minnesota, eligible voters can show up at their polling place on Election Day, unregistered, and leave as both a registered voter and a participant in that day’s election.

Finding your polling place and learning about the candidates on the ballot isn’t a particularly difficult task either. The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office created intuitive polling place finders and sample ballot generators. Using these resources can result in a stress-free election day experience.

This year, many HHS seniors will be eligible to vote for the first time. Voter efficacy is something instilled at a young age, and taking the opportunity to participate in this election is a clear manifestation of this value.

Further, the effects of this election will have a swift and measurable impact on the HHS community in a way that a Presidential or Congressional election doesn’t. Three current members of the Hopkins school board have announced their retirement, and five candidates are running to fill their seats.

Three referenda proposed by the Hopkins School District are also on the ballot for students who live in the district.

If approved, the money from the referenda will be used, in part, to fund renovations at HHS. Though the result of this vote may not immediately be seen by seniors, it could dramatically affect siblings and classmates in future years.

Yes, it is easier to complain about outdated technology in classrooms or an elected official with dissenting opinions from your own than it is to vote, but it isn’t that much easier.

Tomorrow’s Election Day. If you’re eligible, find out where your polling place is, learn about the elections being held, and vote. It’s that simple.

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