The Class of 2023 Votes (For the First Time)

Sarah Marcus, Reporter

As freshmen enter high school, they are 14 years old, and once they finally finish most have turned 18. Every senior experiences different feelings regarding this age change. This is particularly true when it comes to election day.

“I feel great about being 18. I feel free. Independent,” said Erix Xu (‘23).

Others are a little more cautious about becoming a legal adult.

“I am excited to turn 18, but I think there will be a lot of changes and I’m gonna have a lot of responsibilities that I’ll need to uphold,” said Nidia Herrera (‘24).

There are new doors that open up for eighteen year olds, but these opportunities can either be very exciting or really underwhelming.

“I’m very excited to be 18, I think it’ll be a yass and slay time. But there’s nothing fun that you can do when you’re 18 in Georgia. It’s not like I wanted to buy tobacco, but it’d be cool to buy tobacco and then not use the tobacco, but I still can’t buy tobacco. The point of what I’m saying is that the only things to look forward to when you’re 18 is paying for my own insurance, not fun, buying a lottery ticket, which is only kind of fun, and voting, which is super awesome,” said Colette Bradford (‘23).

Voting is a major task bestowed upon 18-year-olds, and every person reacts to this task in different ways.

“I am excited about voting because I really like the fact that I’m allowed to advocate for myself and have a voice in our system,” said Herrera.

Others regard voting as a necessary task, and do not have particular emotions towards the process.

“I definitely am gonna vote. Excited wouldn’t be the word but you know, it’s something I know I should do,” said Roye Moss.

This laid back approach is seen by other students, too. While voting is important, many don’t see it as the biggest deal in the world.

“I don’t really feel anything, I’m just gonna go to the thing and you know, vote,” said Xu.

Other students feel the exact opposite, and voting is more than just a thing to check off their to-do lists.

“I think voting is gonna be really fun. I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends who went to college, like getting excited about voting on their college campus. Overall, in high school, you see people starting to get more excited about voting and learning more about the news and the world around us and participating in that is really important. My family has always been super ‘yas’ about voting, so I’ve just been raised to be excited about it. Now the time has finally come and I’m like yay,” said Bradford.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding voting, yet voting for the first time can also be scary.

“I’m kinda nervous because it is our future and if the wrong candidate is chosen, then there could be a lot of consequences,” said Herrerra.

This concern about voting for the wrong candidate is not an isolated thought, this is a big reason some people choose not to vote at all.

“I’m worried that I’m not going to do enough research about random candidates. I’m scared I’m gonna do something wrong as I submit my ballot. I’m just a little bit like “ahhh”,” said Bradford.

Another concern which pushes new voters away from the polls is the simple opinion that their vote won’t matter.

“I don’t think voting will change my life and I don’t think my vote is going to change anything at all. I’ll go vote anyway because it’s the right thing to do, but I don’t think that I will see any direct changes in who I vote for,” said Xu.

Young voters make up a big part of Georgia’s demographic, and votes add up. There is no way to determine if one individual vote makes a difference, but a lot of them certainly add up.

“I think voting will generally just make me feel more connected to my community and Georgia, and DeKalb county. It really is taking an active voice in my community, which is really cool because I’ve never been able to do that because I’ve been a youth. Now I’m part of the community, and they’re welcoming me into the community by hearing what I have to say. It’s cool,” said Bradford.