By: Payton Hefright
Whether it’s social media, the results of the last presidential election, or a number of other factors, young people across the country seem to be taking an increasingly strong stance on politics. With organizations like Rock the Vote, Head Count, and other initiatives with focuses on a variety of issues, young people are being encouraged to exercise that right now more than ever. They see ads on Instagram, posts and tweets of celebrities bearing an “I Voted” sticker, in addition to hearing the urgent claims that they can make a difference. According to census.gov, among 18 to 29-year-olds, voter turnout went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group — a 79 percent jump.
The Squire consulted Eisenhower’s economics and government teacher, Mr. Penley, for more information on how to register and become politically involved. To register to vote, Penley says someone in the Warren area could either contact the League of Women Voters or register at the post office. Once someone is registered, there is usually a voting station accessible nearby wherever they live. In Farmington, there is the fire hall, in Pine Grove it would be the fire department, and in Sugar Grove either the fire department or burrow building.
We asked Penley what he thinks are some important factors to consider while determining which candidate to vote for, and he simply replied that it’s different for everyone. Honesty, however, is usually important, he believes. When considering who to vote for, it’s important to find out as much as you can about candidates’ stances on issues, and, depending on what issues concern you the most, make your decision from there. Some relatively non-biased and reliable sources for news include The Associated Press and Reuters, says Penley.
According to Penley, voting is important because you are choosing the people that essentially decide how difficult or easy your life is going to be. An important tip he has for those who want to see change in their own lives in Warren County: voting on things like local and state representatives, the school board, township people, and Harrisburg representatives can be just as important as the presidential election. So whether you’ve just turned 18, or haven’t seized the opportunity yet, it’s never too late to start exercising your right to vote and become part of a better country for everyone.