School casts ballots in midterm elections


Sophie Rukin , Staff Writer

This Tuesday, students and teachers at the school, along with millions of Americans, voted in the 2022 midterm elections. The ballot included a wide variety of federal and state positions including senators, congress members, and governors, as well as policies, such as voting on a Racial Equity Office in New York City.

The elections are reflective of the political change the country has seen over the last five or six years, history teacher Melissa Morales said. “It’s a continuation of this exceptional moment of politicization and of using divide as opposed to ideas of unity to gain votes.”

While this election is unlikely to have a large impact on major federal law, because even if both the Houseand the Senate flip Republican, the Democratic president retains veto power, it is a good indication of where voters lie, Morales said.

Polarization has been at the front of Steve Yang’s (12) mind during the election season, he said. “This election is more important than any other we have had before, mostly because of the deep partisanship in our country and the lack of reaching middle ground,” he said. “We have more extreme candidates on either side than ever.”

While Yang is not old enough to vote, he stays up-to-date with news on the election. “As several people have said, democracy may be on the line with all the election deniers, so I think it’s important to stay involved,” he said.

There is not enough student engagement in the school community, Asha Tandon (10) said. “Multiple people who I talked to today were not aware of the midterm elections at all or in any capacity,” she said. “They only became aware when we discussed it in history class, which was also the only time it was mentioned outside of the assembly.” It would have been more beneficial to have a few class periods devoted to understanding the midterm elections so that students could be more aware, she said.

Despite few students being able to vote, civic engagement and political discourse are very prevalent in the school community, Theo Ziehl (11) said. “A lot of students are really engaged in what’s happening, largely because it is so encouraged,” he said. “It’s good that people understand how important the right to vote is and what power it is.”

The discourse at the school is good but often does not go far enough, Malcolm Furman (12) said. “We should be more open to different opinions, both in and outside of the classroom, as well as gain appreciation for opposing views.”

In her own history classes Morales tries to have open discussions regarding current events, she said. “A lot of students are paying attention to the news and things around us.” Morales said. In her United States Legal History class, students tend to engage in open conversation and share a variety of perspectives. “There is much more room for dissent than we give ourselves credit for,” she said.

Political discourse at the school helped prepare Jared Contant (12) for his first voting experience on Tuesday, he said. “I put a big emphasis on social issues because conversations at school and home revolve around that.”

Before casting his ballot, Contant researched by listening to speeches and debates, as well as reading the news, he said. “I tried to do the best I could to understand what was going on, but it’s hard to do — especially with social media, and you don’t know what source your information is coming from.”

Nonetheless, voting was surreal for Contant, he said. “Voting is something you hear about people doing all the time, and to actually do it yourself makes you feel like you were a part of something even greater,” he said. “Even if it was only for a couple minutes.”

While Ellie Campbell (11) is too young to vote right now, she plans to do so in future elections, she said. “It’s important that your voice is heard and that you are able to contribute to a more just world.”