Congressional redistricting changes candidates for many in HHS community

Thomas Rayle, Staff Reporter

As of February 15, 2022, congressional district boundaries were changed throughout Minnesota. HHS students and families who live in Hopkins, Minnetonka and parts of St. Louis Park will be affected as they will vote for different congress members.

Candidates changed for Hopkins residents as they will vote for Dean Phillips or Tom Weiler of Minnesota’s 3rd District this year instead of Ilhan Omar or Cicely Davis of District 5. Many people wonder how redistricting will change voting for Minnesotans.

This year’s redistricting is a product of the Democrat-dominated congress of MN. Redistricting leads to different parties being able to pile voters together to maximize re-election chances. The state legislature receives help from the nonpartisan Legislative Coordinating Commission to help draw boundaries of how much the legislature can push these district lines around.

Even as new lines are drawn, and new candidates are to be represented across Hopkins’ new district, only a small percentage of HHS students know about the change. When walking the halls asking students about redistricting, most students respond with a confused glance and state that they are unaware of these changes. 

These questions only develop more as people start to ask: How much does HHS really inform the students about voting? 

“I feel we need more outreach to students; college students get so much attention about voting while high school students are overlooked,” said Oscar Wolfe, senior, StudCo president.

Wolfe also believes that as students turn 18, independence comes along with that. 

“Adults can teach teens how to register to vote, but some of the responsibility should be with us,” Wolfe said. “As citizens, we have an obligation to vote. It takes a couple of minutes and if we are independent enough to vote we are independent enough to figure out how.” 

Even as students begin to register for voting and inform themselves through various sources, they still find it frustrating as a lack of help for students seeking information seems apparent.

“I haven’t found any resources or support in my voting journey,” said Louis Degiulio, senior. 

Although when asked if he expects to register and vote this year, he responded with yes almost immediately.

It seems that there used to be HHS staff pushing for young voters to be informed through events. 

“In the past, we held voter registration drives, and political candidates have come and spoken at the theater for opportunity hours,” said Ms. Jenifer Heimlich, social studies. “We have a Young Democrats Club and used to have a Young Republicans Club. We have places where students can be informed; we just need students to make that effort.”

Young Democrats Club held events throughout last school year, but has not yet began meetings again. Young Republicans Club, more specifically known as Young Americans for Freedom, has not been active in the last few years.

“In my class, we always discuss political issues, and I encourage students to vote,” Heimlich said. “I tell them the best way to have their voice heard is to vote.” 

These problems have seemed to spark many different discussions. Do teens really need help voting and being heavily informed? Is HHS not preparing its students to become intelligent voters? With so many new topics, law changes and new representatives: Do HHS students know how important their vote is?