By Olivia Wong
Tensions are rising higher than ever for arguably the most important election we have ever seen. There is no doubt that the results of November’s election will drastically affect the future of America. With the looming state of the pandemic, unresolved issues of racial justice, and other reasons, the next person to live in the White House holds many major decisions in his hands.
This is the reason that the young people of America feel that they should have a say in the choices of our leaders. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment prevents most students in the class of 2021 from voting, but many are aware and passionate about politics today and are eager to have their voices heard. With voting off the table for this election, there are other ways high school students can get involved.
Speaking to family and friends as well as educating older generations who are eligible voters can push more people to the polls. There is a portion of students at New Hyde Park Memorial whose immigrant parents may have a language barrier. Consequently, they may be unfamiliar with the unprecedented need for absentee ballots. In addition to this new development, the United States Postal Service may be slower due to the slash in funding. Teach your elders about the process of mail-in voting and check that they know to drop off their ballots in person at the election center if they haven't mailed them out before October 20, 2020.
Source by Saanvi Mirchandani
Students Saanvi Mirchandani and Khushi Shah write over 100 postcards to encourage people from swing states to vote on November 3.
Engaging our fellow peers along with the older generation will also make a significant difference. Although the voter turnout for people ages 18-25 rose from 2016 to 2018, younger eligible voters have a history of not arriving at the polls on Election Day. If we personally reach out to them through phone banking, it can help sway undecided voters, encourage local action, and eliminate indifference. Phone banking may sound like a drag for Generation Z, but it is very simple and easy. There are a variety of resources available online to form a simple script, or the youth of today can join organizations that aid in contacting local communities.
In addition to phone banking, we can encourage our 18+ friends to serve as poll workers. Even though the majority of people are submitting mail-in ballots, in-person voting is still happening despite COVID-19. Michael J. Tully Park is an active polling place right next to our school, and there is a need for people who can set up equipment, assist voters, interpret information, and open and close the polling place.
Take the steps to remind the people around you of the due dates for mail-in ballots, the window for in-person early voting, and the locations for absentee ballot drop-off sites. Remember that those who have limited English proficiency (LEP) or any type of disability can bring a person of their choice to the polls to assist them in voting.
“Instead of regurgitating what we see on our feed, we should take the time to learn about societal matters...”
As harrowing as it is, watching political debates and staying up to date on the election and other news does serve a purpose. It is our job as those who have access to social media, the Internet, and informative documentaries to bring light to the problems that desperately need reform. However, we must also be wary of fake news and misleading information. Checking the validity of resources after seeing a tweet or an Instagram infographic is vital if we are to make wise decisions for the future. Social media is an extraordinary tool, but it can also be extremely divisive and be used for ill intentions. Instead of regurgitating what we see on our feed, we should take the time to learn about societal matters and respectfully discuss these current events with the people around us. If people stay silent, America will not be able to progress or improve from its present state.
We must engage others to act so that we can initiate change locally and nationally. Even though most of us in New Hyde Park Memorial are under the age of eighteen, we would best serve our nation’s people by speaking up about the severity of the issues plaguing the present. We have already found our voices; now we must amplify them.
Source by Olivia Wong
Absentee ballots can be dropped off at an election center.