New Albany High School students vote in 2022 midterm election


Nick Prince, Reporter

Another election day has come and gone, but this one was filled with new voters and followed by new records.

The youth voter turnout was the second-highest in the past 30 years, according to Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). This includes all registered voters in the 18-29 age group. It’s estimated that 27% of this demographic cast a ballot on November 8th, with a mere 20% being the standard. Many students at New Albany High School took this opportunity to use their voice and advocate for the change they want to see in the US government. 

“[Voting] wasn’t so much of a conscious choice, more of a ‘this is something I need to do.’ The past decade has really highlighted the inefficiencies within our political system, and I knew that I needed to use my limited power to change what I could, even if that only meant using my vote to demonstrate dissatisfaction with current leadership,” said senior Abigail Hayes.

However, as first time voters, there are a lot of steps that must be taken first that can be confusing. Students have to register themselves to vote, research the candidates on the ballot, and find a voting location and a time that works for them.

“Registering was uncomplicated. Checking that my registration had been processed was complicated. I couldn’t figure out where to check that it had been processed,” said Hayes. “As a first time voter, I was immensely upset that it wasn’t an easier, streamlined process.”

The voting process can be harder for young people, especially when they aren’t used to the system. With school, jobs, extracurricular activities, and familial responsibilities that they can’t afford to miss, many students have difficulty finding time to register and vote, according to the New York Times.

“The actual process of voting was super easy, but it was kind of a pain to find the time to do it. I worked on Election Day, and I had prior obligations that I couldn’t weasel my way out of, so I had to make time to vote. It was really stressful,” said Hayes.

For many people who are new to voting, the thought of navigating through this very personal process can be daunting. Many have just become legal adults, and are just starting to figure out how to navigate aspects of life without assistance. Sometimes it can be scary for people who don’t know what to expect.

“I was actually really embarrassed. The poll workers asked me if this was my first time voting. I said yes, and they called out, ‘First time voter!’” Hayes said. “It wasn’t as private as I had thought it would be. The partitions were a joke. I was worried that someone was looking at my screen, judging my choices.”

But, for many students who have just turned 18, voting is important, especially when voter turnout is highest among those ages 65 to 74, according to the US Census Bureau. Because people of a younger demographic are more likely to vote liberally and older people tend to vote conservatively, this concerns younger voters. In the 2022 midterm election, people aged 18-29 voted for democratic US representatives 63% of the time, compared to people 65 and older voting for democratic US representatives 43% of the time, according to Tufts University’s CIRCLE.

It’s common to think that young people vote less because they don’t care as much about politics, or they have low political efficacy, but that’s not the case. It’s barriers such as registration, ID requirements, and residency requirements, according to Issues in Science and Technology.

“All in all, I would just like to highlight how important it is to vote. It’s one of the few ways you get a marginal say in the government, and you deserve to know the people who say they’ll take care of you are actually going to follow through. There was record turnout for Gen Z voters, and it is my sincerest hope that this trend will continue,” Hayes said.