By Helen Li ‘15 and Nelly Rojas ‘15
Turning 18 means more responsibilities; it means going to college, having the ability to get your own apartment and being able to vote. However, not all high school students register to vote, even after turning 18. They are not aware that they can vote or they hold no interest in it.
“Everyone has the opportunity and right to participate in voting,” said Mr. Douglas O’Connor, government and economics teacher.
Every year Mr. O’Connor assigns his economics class an advertising project in which the students would support a product or movement. This year Jiaming Tang ‘14 proposed the idea of doing the project on the voting registration drive, which has been done every year since 1992. A group of seven seniors, Steven Zhang ‘14, Michelle Shabat ’14, Victor Huang ‘14, Tasmia Hossain ‘14, Stefanie Henry ‘14, and Alyssa Vazquez ‘14 began to work on the drive. The students collaborated with the NY Public Information Group to make posters and hand out forms.
“Teenagers are really passive,” said Tang ‘14. “They know that there are problems but they don’t really do anything. They don’t register to vote until they’re 21. They care but they don’t do anything.”
The voting registration forms are handed to all economics teachers. Usually, around 300 forms are returned to Mr. O’Connor. This year was a success and 327 forms were returned.
An important part of the voting process is the registration itself. However, even though it takes only a few minutes many people don’t bother registering.
“Filling out the form is the hardest part because you just have to take five minutes out of your time to fill it out,” said Tasmia Hossain ‘14.
Young-Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964–2012 by Thom File, only 38 percent of people ages 18 to 24 voted in 2012, compared to the 69.7 percent of people who voted from ages 65 and over. According to the New York Times, Voter Turnout Appears to Be Record Low by Sam Roberts, in the mayoral elections for Bill de Blasio, only 24 percent of registered voters voted. These records show that fewer young adults are voting.
“We are the future of this country so we should be able to control it the way we think is best,” said Alyssa Vazquez ‘14, team leader.
The down side of registering is that if it is done in Brooklyn, the voting can only be done in Brooklyn. One is only allowed to vote in the state they registered to vote in.
“If more people voted we would have a government that is more responsive to the people,” Mr. O’Connor.