With new age, comes new choices: As South Students turn 18, they choose whether or not to exercise their right to vote.

Alexandra Sharp, asst features editor

From choosing a homecoming theme to the President of the United States, voting has been a system practiced for hundreds of years. As South seniors begin to turn 18, the idea of exercising this right becomes a reality. However, the choice whether or not to vote is not the same for all South students. The upcoming Nov. 4 general election will choose candidates in offices ranging from the United States Senator to more local positions such as County Clerk. According to Dave Kane, AP Government teacher, the choices students make in the upcoming election will have a strong impact on their futures.

“The people that you’re voting for today are going to have a huge impact on your life, whether you realize it or not,” Kane said. “[If students are] voting on something like social security, that’s going to affect [students] more than me, because [students will] be the [ones] paying for it.”

The choice to exercise voting rights is something that Jane Brennan, student body president, believes in fully. The ability to vote someone into office to advocate on behalf of their beliefs is something people should take advantage of, according to Brennan. It’s this action that she feels might make people happier with the choices made in Washington DC.

“I think everybody should register if they are able to, and everybody should [have] a say in politics,” Brennan said. “I don’t think you should be able to complain about the political environment if you are uneducated and didn’t utilize the power you had to control it.”

For senior Kelly Hanson, taking part in politics by voting is an essential thing to do. She believes that students should participate in the upcoming election. For Hanson, being able to vote makes her feel that she now has the ability to make a change where she could not before.

“[Voting is] about knowing that I’m contributing something to […] society that you couldn’t do if you were younger,” Hanson said.

State Representative Laura Fine, who’s running for reelection, agrees with Hanson on the belief that voting is one of the most important parts of the political system. According to Fine, the right to vote shouldn’t be something taken for granted.

“Voting is a right,” Fine said. “It’s a responsibility and it’s also […] a privilege. We need to take advantage of that and be proud to take advantage of it. […] We need to exercise what is our right and our duty.”

Nevertheless, not every South student chose to exercise their voting rights. Kane recognizes that some students technically eligible to vote may have chosen not to due to being uninformed of the election or forgetting to register in general. However, one of the main reasons for low voter registration percentages at South this year might be due to age, according to Kane.

“This voter registration, we didn’t have a huge turn out, because it’s early in the year,” Kane said. “A lot of seniors are still only 17. You know, if we could have done the same voter’s registration four months from now, I think we would have had a huge turn out because of the birthdays.”

Although being underage is one reason for not registering, this ineligibility did not apply to senior Ruxi Griza. Even though Griza is 18 years old, she felt that she shouldn’t vote due to her “lack of knowledge” on the candidates.

“It came up to October 6 and I  realized […] it was almost too late ,” Griza said. “For me, I didn’t think I’d have the time to research all of the people I was voting for, because I didn’t want to go vote just based on what name sounds cool. I didn’t want to vote if I didn’t know what I was voting for.”

For students who are choosing to vote; Kane has some advice.

“No candidate is going to match all of your views,” Kane said. “The only person to do that is if [you] decide to run yourself. So instead of focusing much on what party they’re in, it’s ‘Do they support the things that I find most important?’ and to me I would say that’s the person you should be voting for or donating your time to.”