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The Compass

Ratings don't last.  Great journalism does. - Dan Rather

The Compass

Ratings don't last.  Great journalism does. - Dan Rather

The Compass

High School Students Discuss Being First-Time Voters

Brady Jones
Happy Valley City Hall


For many high school seniors, the arrival of senior year also signals the beginning of adulthood. With this, many students can vote for the first time. Though 2023 is not a major election year, the November 7th ballot will still present voters with issues, mostly local, that need to be resolved. 

 While being able to vote is a tremendous opportunity, it can also be difficult for young people to figure out where to start. Nelson senior Anwar Singh, who just turned 18, says he finds the idea of voting “kind of scary.” He also says he has a general disinterest in politics, commenting that he doesn’t think it will affect his life much. One issue that is important to him, is taxes, as he is looking to enter the workforce. However, this won’t compel him enough to vote, as he sees national political issues as more critical. Singh says that this is a common sentiment in his friend group. “Most of my friends probably won’t register to vote.” 

Having more of an interest in national politics was common with many of the students that The Compass talked to. Another senior, Tabor Boddington, said that the most important issue to him is maintaining a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. While he will be registering to vote he says that he hasn’t taken much interest in local politics. “There is just not a lot that has engaged me with local political issues.” Boddington added that he also feels that many national policies will trickle down and affect him, propelling him to vote.

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Part of the reason for this might be that young people haven’t seen or heard about the measures that will be on the November ballot. One such measure is the potential levy renewal, which aims to maintain teaching positions and classroom programs. Students Justin Townsend and Adrian Dulong were not aware of this measure, but say that it sounds like something they would want to vote on. 

Other students have expressed that they don’t feel that local candidates are making efforts to reach out to young people. Morgan Armitage says she hasn’t heard anything from politicians that has made her especially engaged with local politics. “I haven’t heard anything from them that gets me excited about voting.”Of the 15 students The Compass spoke with, 10 said they plan on registering to vote for the 2023 election, though this number could increase as national issues take center stage in 2024.

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