On November 6, 2012, voters will line up at the polls to vote for the next U.S. President.
For many, voting is a right and a duty that comes along with being a citizen of this country.
“There is the whole civilian, ‘I need to do my part,’ thing,” said Alexander Umfleet, registered voter. “And it’s also nice to have some sort of voice. It’s like you’re casting some sort of print on society.”
New voters, and experienced voters, like to think that by voting they are affecting history in the making. “I think it’s your civic duty. If you vote than you can complain–or agree with the people,” said Mrs. Schuett. “But if you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain, because you didn’t try to make a change.” The Leesville math teacher has yet to miss voting for a presidential election.
There are several requirements dictated by the North Carolina State Board of Elections that N.C. voters have to meet. To vote, a citizen of N.C. has to to be at least 18 by the day of the election. N.C. citizens have to have lived in the state for 30 days and rescind any registration in other states. Also, those who intend to vote have to be clear of any probation or parole.
Most students of the 2012 graduating class do not meet one of these requirements as most students do not turn 18 until later in the month.
Alana Drummond, senior, happens to be one of those unlucky students who wishes she could vote. “I feel like I could have helped,” said Drummond. Drummond will not turn 18 until early December.
Although Drummond cannot vote in the 2012 election, she can pre-register for future elections. At 16, students can pre-register, which allows students to be automatically registered when they turn 18. In 2011, Umfleet had pre-registered through the school’s political club. This year, teachers passed out pre-registration forms. Students can also register online through the North Carolina State Board of Elections and at the courthouse.
A new way to register and view where registered voters live has been created. Obama has put out a registration APP for iPhones. According to NBC News, however, this app could be a violation of privacy due to the information given out about individuals.
With voting, comes the responsibility of knowing the issues and what each party has to say about each subject. The main issues that have been causing concern for voters tend to be national security, healthcare and the economy.
“I vote on the issues. Economy is the big thing. Jobs have not been created. I think that’s a huge thing. I think everybody’s voting on economy,” said Schuett. “There are other issues I believe in, but I think the big one this election is the economy. It changes every time.”
Drummond also fears about the country’s state of the economy. “Right now we’re going back into a depression. I really hope we’ll get out of that.”
Gas prices have increased. Adults are being laid off. College students are having to graduate with masters and doctorates to even be considered for a position in their major. Even teenagers have a hard time finding jobs. According to Urban Library Council, N.C. ranks fifth in unemployment rates for teens. It has been reported that 33.4% of teenagers have not been able to find jobs.
According to the Employment Policies Institute, jobs previously given to teenagers are now being given to college students and adults. As companies increase the minimum wage, they decrease the need for unskilled workers. Being that teenagers live with their parents with a supplied income, teenagers tend to be a low priority to hire.
To keep conscious of the 2012 political complain and issues, those like Schuett and Umfleet, watch the news every night. “I do try to keep up with politics, and it scares me sometimes. I don’t want to go blindly into the future,” said Umfleet.
Along with watching regularly programed news broadcasts, students watched the the Aug. Republican and Democratic Conventions.The Republican Convention had been held in Tampa Bay, FL. The Democratic Convention then had been held in Charlotte, NC. According to USA Today College, communication majors at UNC-Charlotte were able to take advantage of this event .
Both parties have been making stops in N.C. on their campaign trails over the past several years. “[I go to these events] To meet, see the candidates. See what they have to say in a live audience,” said Shuett. “You’re with people you like, with the same mind set, so it’s a great experience.”
Some people bond during election years, while others become distant over opposing viewpoints. However, all those who vote hope to have an impact on the course of history. Whether eligible to vote or not, citizens imagine what they want their future to look like.
“We need to get out of our recession, and to start going back up. We need to see people having jobs. There’s a lot of unemployment,” said Shuett. “Things need to change.”