Seniors step into the voting booth for the first time

Nelson Gaillard, Staff Writer

At 6:15 a.m. last Tuesday, Tatiana Pavletich (12) threw on sweatpants, walked a block to the Greek church, waited in long lines, and voted for the first time. Her and many other seniors experienced their first time voting as legal adults during this week’s midterm election.

As voting rookies, many seniors had to register to vote in this election, and according to Ben Metzner (12), the registration process was surprisingly easy, requiring only an ID and a signature.

“It’s important to be part of the civic process,” Metzner said. “Even in a state like New York, where most of the races are sewed up, it’s important to be a part of the process and make your voice heard.”

Elizabeth Fortunato (12) and Josh Benson (12) registered to vote at the DMV when they received their drivers licenses and found that process simple.

Pavletich signed up on the DMV website and no later than two weeks later, received her voter registration in the mail, she said.

For Juli Moreira (12), the registration process was also uncomplicated, she said. All she had to do was fill out a piece of paper and make sure that all the information was correct.

Jaden Katz (12) said she registered to vote at school when the student body presidents set up a registration booth.

In order to vote back in the 1980s, Senior Supervisor of Public Safety, Bill O’Sullivan, filled out a voter registration form which was given to him by his university.

In terms of actually voting, in the 1980s, O’Sullivan remembers pulling a lever to close a curtain, pushing buttons to choose the candidate, and flipping the lever back to cast the ballot and open the curtain. “I think [voting] is very streamlined,” he said.

Science teacher Dr. Megan Reesbeck voted for the first time in the 2008 presidential election. “I couldn’t imagine not [voting],” she said.

To Benson, voting for the first time did not seem significant. “The chances of your vote not getting counted or your ability to vote being suppressed make voting not highly impactful,” he said.

Because Jaden Katz already knew what the outcome of the election was going to be, voting for the first time did not mean that much, she said.

In this election, Benson was voting against something rather than for something, but he does not think “one extra drop in that blue wave” is going to have that much of an impact, he said.

“I don’t feel like if I hadn’t voted, there would have been a dramatic difference,” Reesbeck said. “I do feel as there are so many people who have difficulties voting and can’t exercise their right, why wouldn’t you?”

“I think it’s really easy to be like ‘I don’t need to vote,’” Middle and Upper Division Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels said. “Your voices are going to make a huge difference.”

“I definitely think that everyone does have an impact,” Fortunato said. “I know I’m just a single person, but I think that my vote can make a difference.”

Metzner and Reesbeck believe that everyone should vote but Fortunato, Benson, and Moreira believe that it’s the people’s choice as to whether or not they vote.

For those under the age of 18, there is a lot of time to figure everything out so they should not feel bad about being unable to vote, Fortunato said.

Voting is an important part of adulthood and made Metzner feel like an adult. “You get to feel like you’re part of the American civic society,” Metzner said.