In the recent midterm elections on Nov. 4, a small amount of CHS 18-year-olds were found at the polls.
In a survey of 143 students in senior social studies classes, students revealed that only 35 percent of Carmel High’s 34 eligible seniors voted in the recent elections. Although this number may appear small on the local level, it proves impressive when compared to the statistic of only 13 percent of 18-29-year-olds turning out on the national level, according to The Guardian.
“With senior year being the year before college, the students don’t really have time for anything else,” 18-year-old Mark Duncan says of why local 18-year-olds didn’t vote.
The lack of momentum towards civic involvement in 18-year-olds might also be caused by the lack of eligible peers surrounding them—about 76 percent of the senior class is comprised of 17-year-olds.
“I was the youngest person [at the polls] by about 40 years,” notes student voter Brianna Forschino of her recent experience during the elections. She also says that the older voters were surprised to see a young person participating.
The 65 percent of students who did not vote express that they were either too busy, or had not registered by the proper deadline. Others say that they had turned 18 just after the deadline had passed.
Another common excuse was disinterest in politics and reluctance to go through the voting process. Multiple students say that they were too “lazy” to register.
“It’s good [that they’re not voting] if they’re not researching what they’re voting on…but the fact that they’re not voting is not a good thing, especially with the opportunity to have their voices heard,” says Economics and Civics teacher Brent Silva.
It is a common concern that teenage voters will not educate themselves on issues that decisions are being made for. Senior voter Jenny Verheul agrees that it’s very important that young voters take time to research.
“I think that 18-year-olds should be well informed before they submit their ballot,” she says. “It’s hard, and people get fatigued easily, especially the inexperienced voters.”
Among the voters at Carmel High, it appears that political ideologies are fairly evenly split. The recent survey discovered that exactly 50 percent of those students voted for the Democratic party, while 42 percent voted Republican, and the remaining 8 percent did not vote exclusively with one party.
Although most of the seniors were not able to vote, many have already formed strong opinions about politics.
“Vote no on prop 46!” senior Robert Chambers says enthusiastically when questioned about the mid-terms. Many 17-year-olds like Chambers actively participate in political debates on campus.
Numerous underage AP Government and Politics and Civics students anxiously await the day that they will be able to legally vote and look forward to putting their educated opinions onto a ballot.
After all, it’s just a matter of time.