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Cast Your Ballot: Simplified Voting Process Encourages Participation


Growing up, there are moments children truly feel like they have transitioned to adulthood: getting a driver’s license, obtaining a job, and voting for the first time. As self-affirming as voting may seem to a teenager entering the adult world, less than half voted in 2016 and slightly more in the 2020 presidential election per

Voter apathy, or the lack of interest in politics, plagues much of the youngest generation of voters. Why is this? Shouldn’t young people be the most motivated to vote and effectuate change? The answer seems complicated but often has a relatively simple solution.

Like trying anything new, such as riding a bike or learning to walk, voting can be a daunting task. First-time voter Gianni Anzalone ‘24 believes, “Kids my age or a bit older don’t take the time or effort to do it.”

The registration and voting processes have become increasingly simplified to combat this. States are required to provide the option to register along with the renewal of a driver’s license. Despite the convenience of signing up, nearly 80 million eligible voters did not take part in the election per National Public Radio (NPR).

For many young people, there is an opportunity cost to voting. In the modern age, the late teens and twenties are filled with the ‘hustle and bustle’ of daily life, from balancing college to getting hired at a first full-time job. In a young person’s fast-paced lifestyle, voting appears as “time wasted,” which could be better spent on other things. Among many young Americans, this is a very real sentiment. “I think a lot of people find it hard to balance their schedules, and it takes time away from things like voting,” Matt Adam ‘24 said.

Because of this, states have taken action to reduce time and availability barriers to voting.

Early voting enables the electorate to vote in person at a centralized location prior to Election Day. Most locations for early voting differ from the polling stations on Election Day, making it important to understand where ballots are provided. For example, the Atlanta Hawks opened State Farm Arena for early voting during the 2020 election cycle. This provided a viable option for those with time-consuming schedules to plan ahead. Early voting is normally open between 3 and 46 days before Election Day depending on the state.

Aside from early voting, absentee ballots are a popular form of casting. This allows people to mail in their ballot, typically ahead of election day, if they cannot be present at a polling station. Mail-in ballots combat any transportation or scheduling issues that may prevent someone from participating. This saves time on election day by avoiding lines and eliminating the need for transportation.

For American citizens, voting is the most direct way to make a change in the government and society. Without the people’s voice, the United States of America would not have grown into the beacon of democracy and freedom that it is recognized as today.

As social activist Susan B. Anthony famously said, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”

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About the Contributor
Finn Murphy
Finn Murphy, Chief of Story
Finn joined The Mount Journalism team in 2021 as a reporter. Finn also participates in investment club, cross country, and track & field.
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