New student voters hit the polls with policy issues in mind

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By Andrew Franceski, Staff Reporter

Senior Katie Martin is ready to exercise her civic duty and vote for the first time this November.

“I’m excited to vote for the first time. I have been waiting for a while to contribute, and especially during this election cycle, my vote counts more than ever,” Martin said.

Conestoga seniors, as well as millions of other new voters from around the country, will vote in both local and state elections on Nov 3.

This is daunting for youth voters who will be able to vote for the first time. They will make their opinions known on a variety of issues including health care, human rights, and the environment, the latter of these issues is at the forefront of senior Jeremiah Miller’s mind.

“I think we have a lot of work to do. We need to be back in the Paris Accord, and our carbon footprint is not okay,-Miller said. “We could and should be doing a lot more to improve our climate like solar paneling and getting rid of plastics and trash a lot more efficiently.” 

While Martin also agrees that environmental issues need to be figured out, she is more worried about healthcare. 

“I personally feel that Biden has some good ideas about expanding health care. I also believe that our COVID-19 response has been subpar and needs some major improvements to equipment and access to prevent a catastrophic death toll.” Martin said.

Human rights is one important issue senior Claire Connelly will consider while bubbling the ballot.

“l think we have to have a reckoning on basic human rights. I will definitely be thinking about the things that have been happening in this country and it’s been addressed by each of the candidates and what their plans are to address it in the future.” Connelly said.

With the pandemic and its related challenges, new voters have faced a more complicated process to register and find the appropriate resources to make an informed decision next month. This initially worried Miller.

“At first it was kind of difficult to find what I need to register, but with the help of some of my teachers, and the New Voters club, I was able to take care of the necessary forms and am ready for my first time.” Miller said.

Voting on Election Day has been modified greatly due to COVID-19 adding to uncertainty about polling procedure and causing the creation of new rules and regulations for voting adding to the stress of first time voters like Connelly.

“I’m concerned about having to wait in line with everyone and being in close proximity to people, and also voting for the first time in general. Am I going to know what to do? Am I going to be confused? I think I should be fine, it just makes everything a little more stressful,” Connely said.

As Election Day approaches, everyone interviewed echoed the same message: vote.  

“Everyone’s vote matters so please go out and vote, it is our turn to make our voices heard,” Martin said.


Andrew Franceski can be reached at [email protected]