Turning 18 Opens Door to Voting Responsibilities

Turning 18 Opens Door to Voting Responsibilities

Tristan Caro, Asst. Opinion Editor

In a society founded on citizen participation, voter apathy is certainly a problem. While some Campo seniors believe voting to be important, others find it valueless. General opinion among Campo students is divided.

Senior Will Howard holds voting in a positive light. Howard believes that the voting power of the young should not be underestimated. “The nation needs the perspective of the younger population, decisions made by us today impact the future,” he explained.  Howard would oppose any laws created to lower or raise the voting age; he reasoned, “18 year olds are beginning to see the world in a different light.”

Social Studies teacher Paul Verbanszky said, “It is incredibly important for every eligible person to vote; It’s discouraging to not see more young people vote in elections, they are the future.” Whenever a student in his class turns 18, Verbanszky hands him or her a voting registration form; he explained, “Often young voters don’t feel like they have power, and therefore don’t vote, thus bills and legislation are catering for the older generation.”

Despite these concerns, Senior Hannah Perkins feels voting is not something teens are ready to do. She argued, “We don’t know what’s going on. One vote, it doesn’t mean anything.” Perkins continued, “I’ll vote, but for whoever my parents say to vote for.”

Candidates and organizations are increasingly targeting youth in elections. In the California 2004 election, turnout of 18-24 year old citizens was 45%, compared to 37% in 2000, showing an increase in youth voting by 8%. Politicians are creating more youth targeted ads, slogans, and campaign platforms.

With the recent  proposition for legalization of marijuana, Proposition 19, lawmakers were hoping to get the youth into the election booths.  Though they were successful in enticing teens to cast their ballots, the proposition was not popular enough among older citizens and was ultimately rejected.