What elections mean to me: seniors cast a vote in the upcoming midterm

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FAIR USE: The DePaulia

BALLOTS IN. Seniors have taken up a new responsibility as each of them becomes eighteen.

Imagine the experience of stepping into the ballot box for the first time to vote in the midterm election.

In these midterms, voters will determine who holds several positions at the federal, state, and local levels. The minimum age requirement of 18 years means that some seniors will be eligible to vote this fall.

Election Day is Nov. 8; early voting began Sept. 23.

One senior who will be casting a ballot in the midterms is Roberto Velez. “…I think it is important to participate in elections in order to support what I believe in,” he said.
Although Velez hasn’t done much research, he is “excited” to be able to vote and plans to look more into the candidates when he has the time.

In addition, Velez keeps up with current events by listening to the news.

Senior Tuco Dixon voted in the Primary Election on Aug. 9, his eighteenth birthday. The decision to vote came at the last minute: “I didn’t even know I was going to vote until like a week before,” he said.

Because of the August birthday, Dixon could vote before many of his friends. “I think I was one of the only ones who voted in the primary,” he said.

Dixon registered in person, which he claims only took about five minutes.

Velez recalled a similar experience registering for the primary: “It was pretty easy, although I work the elections, so I knew beforehand what I needed,” he said.

Deciding which candidates to vote for may feel like a big deal for some, but that wasn’t the case for Dixon. “I just voted for who my parents told me to vote for. Or if they didn’t tell me to vote for a specific person, just the name I thought sounded the funniest,” he said.

As a Democrat living in a historically blue state, it felt like a safe bet he said.

“In Minnesota, it really does not matter. It’s not like, close or anything. It’s going to be the same thing either way.”

Pullquote Photo

I think it is important to participate in elections in order to support what I believe in.”

— Roberto Velez

Though one vote may seem small in the grand scheme of an election, Velez believes that, in some capacity, it is a necessity to keep the scales balanced.

“…I do think [voting] is important because if we choose to abstain from elections, we let the extremes lead to political discussion,” he said.

To Dixon, these political extremes are sometimes inevitable. “At a certain point, it doesn’t matter who votes.”

Senior Sila Liljedahl disagrees. Though she won’t be legally eligible to vote by midterms, Liljedahl believes voting is important, especially for young people.

“I see voting as a big responsibility, and I’m excited to be able to vote next year,” she said.

Though she partially views voting as over-emphasized in today’s society, she still believes in the powers it can hold.

“I think sometimes voting can be [used as] an overplayed solution to deeply systematic social issues by some political groups. But I also think voting people into political offices who will work to change the system causing those issues themselves is really necessary, so I would say voting is still really important,” Liljedahl said.

Senior Solvej Graff believes in the power of a single vote and the importance of safeguarding this right.

“Absolutely, voting should be observed as a civic duty,” Graff said. “And so too is working to ensure that voting is protected and made widely accessible for all in the nation.”

Though she won’t be able to vote in the upcoming midterms, Graff still encourages everyone who is able to make their voices heard for the sake of democracy.