Midterm Elections: The Voice of Young Voters

With this year’s high stake midterm elections, calls to get out and vote are everywhere, from signs in the school hallways t0 social media and television. Even pop stars are encouraging young people to vote. But what are Francis Lewis students who are eligible to vote planning to do? FLHS News video reporter Brandon Jackson investigated, and also asked eligible high school voters what issues were important to them.

Despite the urgent calls to participate in this year’s election, not all students at Francis Lewis are planning to vote.

“I was busy with my homework and stuff, so I forgot,” said senior Khonamir Uktamov. “The only person who told me to register was my Government teacher, and I didn’t really know much about it.”

Some students have said they don’t know who is running for elections, nor do they know the issues each candidate supports.

“Although I registered to vote, I don’t know if I should yet,” said FLHS graduate Rocktem Bhowmik. “I haven’t done enough research into the candidates.”

Cheyenne Figaro, a junior who is not eligible to vote yet, believes that students who are eligible to vote are not cognizant of the impact their vote they can have. 

“I feel like if you’re 18 and you’re in high school, you’re still surrounded by younger kids who can’t vote,” said Figaro. “You’re still under the idea that your parents are the ones that have to be involved and informed about voting. Right now you’re not fully aware of how much power you hold.”

However, there are also students who actively engage in the election process. Senior Tsering Lhakyi will be working as a poll worker in tomorrow’s midterm elections. Lhakyi encourages others to research their candidates.

“If a person is going to be voting in the midterms, it is in their best interest to start studying,” said Lhakyi. “Get to know the candidates [and] their stance on important topics that pertain to them such as gun control, climate change, housing, abortion, education reform, incarceration reform, etc.” Voters are able to do research on candidates through websites like vote411.org and votesmart.org.

Regardless of age, Lhakyi wants younger generations to “be involved in the election” in any way possible.

“Even if you are not old enough to vote, you can still influence the tide of the election process by promoting a certain candidate [at] a local election building,” added Lhakyi.

Some students, like senior Tara Wright, sees her vote as a way of representing people who can’t vote. 

“I feel like [my vote] would make up for all the people that feel like their vote doesn’t count,” said Wright. “Now that I’m 18, I know that my future is in my own hands so I have the right to vote for who I want to represent our country and state.”

Students want to see issues like gender equality, racial equality, women’s rights, and immigration rights addressed. Some of them do feel like their votes have potential, and they can’t wait to vote.

“If you want to see change, it is important to vote for that change that you want to see happen,” said Lhakyi.