Students look forward to their first primary election

Many young adults at GBHS are excited to vote and practice civil engagement with peers

The+California+primaries+are+on+Mar.+3%2C+2020%2C+and+students+of+age+at+GBHS+are+considering+whether+or+not+to+vote.

GBT.org illustration/ ASHLEY LUCIA

The California primaries are on Mar. 3, 2020, and students of age at GBHS are considering whether or not to vote.

   Participation in democracy is an essential part of the American Identity,    and with the California Presidential Primary quickly approaching, many seniors will be experiencing their first election.

   While some students aren’t interested in the political process, many are watching debates, attending rallies and even donating to campaigns of their choice.

    “I can’t be bothered (to vote),” senior Keaton Brasse said. “I think it is of the utmost importance that Americans vote when given the opportunity… I’m just not going to.”

   A similar sentiment can be seen in young voters across the nation. In the 2018 midterm election, eligible voters aged 18-29 had the lowest turnout of any age group at 35.6%, according to the United States Census.

   However, not all students on campus share this attitude toward political participation.

   Hunter Josephson is a politically active senior who has attended rallies, donated to his favorite candidates and kept up-to-date on debates and political media.

   “I think it’s important that we actually have our voices heard,” said Josephson, who sees voting as the essential outlet for Americans to shape their government. “If you don’t vote, you can’t criticize anyone else.” 

   To Josephson, voting is necessary for all who are eligible, because it is the only way to have the government properly represent them.

If you don’t vote, you can’t criticize anyone else.”

— Hunter Josephson

   Unfortunately, not all who are eligible to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election are permitted to vote in the California Primaries.

   California laws dictate that to vote in the Primary Elections, the voter must be 18 years old by the primary date. With California’s relatively early primary, many seniors will be left without a voice in their registered party.

   “I will be 18 for the general election but not in time for the primary election,” said Zach Haug, a politically active student who will not be eligible to vote in this year’s primary. “I have made calls for my favorite candidate, Elizabeth Warren, and I stay up-to-date and well-versed in politics overall.”

  Haug said he believes California laws should be changed to accommodate voters like him. But rather than wait for his time to vote, Haug has found other ways to take action in politics.

   “My friend Jordan Greenfelder and I have contacted our state senator and have scheduled a meeting in order to try to propose legislation to change the laws,” he said. 

   Although the laws can’t be changed in time for him to vote, Haug said he hopes California law will change for the sake of future voters.

   When it comes to actually deciding whether to vote or not, Josephson says the decision is personal.

   “I try not to criticize anyone’s decision to vote,” Josephson said. “Because it’s their choice.”

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