Valley Ventana

Decisions, decisions, decisions

First-time voters struggle with options in mid-term elections

For 18-year-olds, the midterm elections marked their first time in the polls.

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For 18-year-olds, the midterm elections marked their first time in the polls.

Jack Mobley, Staff Writer

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For starters, Laney knew nothing and I was wearing a crop top. With a Halloween party on my mind, and Laney’s incisive voice rambling about a school project, anyone could tell we clearly weren’t ready to vote.

But there was a column due by the end of the week. So nevertheless, we voted.

It was Halloween, I had cut my shirt as a joke, and Laney had left her ecocolumn till the last minute. But in all seriousness, we came to realize a few things.

First, there are two types of people you encounter when seeking advice as an 18-year-old voter: those who are too afraid to push their opinions on you and those who are afraid not to.

We wanted advice without political preference. We couldn’t ask where the closest polls were or how to register without being met with two major difficulties: adults who literally refused to comment so as not to change our opinions, and adults who were so preoccupied with changing our beliefs they never even answered our questions.

Second, as 18-year-old voters, we were both legitimized, yet we still felt belittled, as if we weren’t real voters yet. It felt like a trial run. Like everyone expected us to fail the first time. Like we’d really understand when we were older.

Yes, we might not have known the layout of a voting booth or what identification to bring. But that did not mean we didn’t have legitimate views about our society. Our ability to push a button doesn’t equate to our ability to judge a representative.

Honestly, the only real comfort had was in each other. Through feeling unprepared, unanswered and unwelcome, we were together in our sentiments. However, we weren’t necessarily together in our political beliefs.

We came to realize one major difference between ourselves and the older generations. We believed in the value of each other’s opinions. Older votes argue they’ve seen the world the longest; and they’re right, without much consideration to the youth who have the freshest pair of eyes.

We felt outnumbered. That isn’t an older generation’s fault. It is ours. We felt alone and uncertain because there were not enough of others like us.

We realized the reason we felt unprepared, ostracized and belittled wasn’t because we were stupid teenagers ill-equipped to vote. It was because we are a different generation.

About the Writer
Jack Mobley, Broadcast Producer

Hi! I’m Jack. I could tell you the boring stuff like my age (18), what I do here (Senior Executive Producer for the Ranger Report), and my priorities (school, Spanish, family, and church), OR… I could get to the actual important questions: waffles over pancakes, pool over the beach, Coke over Pepsi, movies over tv shows and I’m honestly still undecided about cats vs. dogs.

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