While citizens across the nation went to the polls today to exercise their right to vote, one demographic was forced to stay at home. Seventeen-year-olds, whether they missed the cutoff date by one month or eleven, are experiencing the most frustrating day of the year.
“Not being able to vote makes me feel like a child, even though this child will be in college in a year, having to make financial decisions, career decisions, and long term decisions that will affect me for the rest of my life,” said Rachel Bunger (12).
College tuition, the jobs market, and future military plans are just a few issues that affect young people directly. Historically, young people have had poor turnout at the polls. However, activity by Manual students on social media sites today tells a very different story.
“I was very encouraging to those who did vote, and I encouraged the people who are able to vote to go to the polls,” said Bunger. Another Manual senior, Elizabeth Penava, posted as her status on Facebook: “I’m one month too young to go, but if you’re able to, please vote! Your vote DOES make a difference.” Penava also posted a link to Hank Green’s YouTube video encouraging voting.
“I wish I could vote! Go Romney/Ryan!” said Kelli Raines (12) on her Facebook page earlier today. “Because i’m 8 months away from being able to vote, I feel like i’m old enough and mature enough to make decisions like this, and it’s annoying that I can’t voice my opinion in the most influential way.”
It’s obvious that if these students were able to, they would vote in huge numbers for both candidates.
“It’s not that I didn’t vote because I don’t want to, I’m just about 5 months too young,” said Bunger.
Hopefully their encouragement of those around them will be enough to get the results they are hoping for. Until then, these teenagers must wait until the end of their college years for their voices to be heard via the ballot box.