First Time Voters Take On Midterms


Olivia Chewning

Voting Rights: Senior Jake Churchill is one of the young adults among many that is part of the politically-active first-time voters wave of the new generation.

There’s always a first for everything, and high schoolers are no such strangers to these new experiences and privileges that come with age as they race toward adulthood. Many firsts are introduced when someone turns 18 and begins their transition from the status of a minor to that of a young adult. Legal adults, among other things, are granted the right to vote. With the recent midterm elections in mind, many eligible seniors took the advantage of the day off and headed to the polls to vote for the first time.

Historically, young adult voters have showed the lowest turnout of all the age groups during elections. Recently however, Generation Z has proved that they may be the ones to break the tradition of inaction. Voting rates for young adults have nearly tripled in the last four years. Around 215,000 early young adult votes were counted before November 6 just in Georgia alone.

For those who consider themselves politically active or informed, voting is a chance to elect leaders into office who they believe will represent their interests. Georgia had many important House and Senate seats up for grabs, as well as a close governor’s race that the whole country had its eyes on. Finally, being able to vote in such tight races is an exciting and important rite of passage to seniors like Catherine Johnson. “If we don’t vote, then our political opinions and views can’t be expressed. We can’t complain about how things are going and not vote because that is the one way we can potentially make a direct change,” she said. “Plus we fought for that right to vote, so why not use it?”

This past year has seen the youth becoming more vocal in their political positions on a wide range of issues. A study done by the Washington Post shows that young people are most focused on the issues of public education, sexual assault, reproductive rights, gun control, race and immigration. For people with strong opinions on these topics, voting is an opportunity to help elect the candidates that best represent their views. Senior Matilda Redfern is one constituent who appreciates the privilege of voting. “I voted for all the people who are too young to vote and for the ones who were not given the chance to cast their votes,” she said.

Whether people vote by absentee ballot, by provisional ballot, in early voting, or on election day itself, they have engaged in their civil duty to vote and have contributed to the outcome of the election. Getting out and voting for lawmakers and important issues is extremely important, so congratulations to all the first-time voters.