It’s time for young people to vote

Why Texas High students are going to the polls


Peyton Sims

photo illustration

Story by Maria Rangel, staff writer

With social equality issues and a rampant global pandemic, 2020 has been overwhelming for Americans. On top of that, it’s an election year, and our candidates’ opposing positions on both issues have sparked interest in politics and intense partisanship. As a result, voter interest among young people has been at an all-time high. Election Day is just around the corner and registered Texas High students have much to say about voting this Election Year.

Guy Johnson 

Senior Guy Johnsons’ parents have affected his views on politics, but he’s also confident in his own knowledge on the subject. He says he’s learned a lot about politics in the past year and that it’s influenced his choice of candidate. 

What has affected your decision for who to vote?

My parents for sure. I feel like [it’s] what they’re watching on the news and stuff, that’s what you’re surrounded by. Naturally their beliefs will transfer onto you. A lot of my friends have the same views, but honestly, I don’t care. That doesn’t affect my views. 

How confident are you in your knowledge of politics? Has this knowledge affected your choice, or mainly external factors like friends or media?

Mainly external factors, but I would say definitely in the past year, my knowledge has increased on politics. I’m still [nowhere near] where I want to be in confidence [of knowledge] for voting, but still. 

What factors do you focus on in your decision?

Basically just the big problems in America that are going on right now. What side they choose and basically if they’re gonna take it head-on and if they’re gonna solve it or if they’re just gonna let it continue. 

Do you encourage others to vote? 

Definitely. I mean, it’s the country you live in. Everybody should have their voice heard. But if you don’t want to vote, again it’s your right. You don’t have to. But yeah, I think everybody should vote. It affects everybody. 

Do you think every vote counts?

Yeah, I mean this is definitely gonna be a tight election for sure. And if everybody voted it would definitely be tight; it would sway one way or another. 

Tatum Haugh 

Senior Tatum Haugh admits that before this year, she didn’t know much about politics. However, the tension of an Election Year encouraged her to do her research and decide on the candidate who most fits with her concern for social issues. External factors haven’t affected her decision much, as her views haven’t wavered, even in disagreements with her parents. 

Has your knowledge of politics affected your choice?

Yes, for sure. Honestly, I really didn’t care about politics that much until this year in this election, and I really made sure to do my research and made sure to vote for someone who has more policies [that I agree with]. Even though I don’t really agree with either of them as good people because I believe in morally right presidents, I’m just gonna pick whoever I feel has the policies [that I agree with]. The social community comes before economic issues [for me].

Have any external factors influenced your decision?

Me and my parents disagree a lot about it, but that kind of does sway me a little more to be honest. I’m kind of like ‘why are y’all talking like that? I don’t get it.’ Social media, even though I tend to not look on there for my news, I know it has swayed a lot of my friends to believe what they believe. Especially like TikTok nowadays. It’s so crazy, so having those conversations with them [has swayed it a bit]. 

Are you confident in your knowledge of politics?

Yeah, definitely with a lot of things going on, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. It really swayed me to vote because I realized that we’re living with a government with [systemic] racism. I feel like this generation is a good generation to change that. 

Do you encourage others to vote?

Yes, for sure. Even if they don’t agree with me politically, I still want people to vote because I feel like as Americans, it’s kind of our right to do it. And it’s okay because everyone has their own opinion; I just feel like you shouldn’t throw it away.

Do you think every vote counts?

I feel like every vote counts, no matter how big or how small or who you agree with, I feel like it’s just our right.

Mason Smallwood 

Senior Mason Smallwood has kept a very strong stance on his views. He’s open to discourse with friends and respects differing opinions, but none have swayed his decision. An avid researcher, Smallwood is familiar with his candidate’s policies. Though he acknowledges faults in his choice’s personality, this political knowledge has only reinforced his decision. 

Have any external factors influenced your decision on your vote?

My family, of course. They’re pretty prominent on how they view [certain things] and how they feel. I agree with them; it’s not like they force me into how I feel. It sort of just goes on to how I feel about certain things and certain ways people have handled them or say they’re going to handle them. 

What about speaking with friends? Have their views affected your decision at all?

They’ve spoken to me about them, but they definitely never really changed because I’m pretty prominent on how I feel about things. At the same time, I’m open to hearing everything else because maybe they will change my mind, who knows. I talk to my friends about it whenever it seems appropriate. I bring it up and we talk about it and we just have a nice civil discourse between each other. 

How confident are you in your knowledge of politics? Has this knowledge affected your vote?

I mean, I stay pretty up-to-date about certain topics. Like, I don’t refresh the page for new articles or anything, but I do read if anything becomes mainstream, and I do some research. I do look at stuff that seems very interesting. Then, I talk about it to people and then see how they saw it. You know, like if some web page said this and the one I saw said this, we just kinda talk about it. But other than that, I kinda do my own research about certain things. 

Are there any factors that your candidate of choice has displayed that has attracted you?

Certain policies of the candidate that I chose [have attracted me]. Although he is kind of obnoxious about how he does certain things, it’s just how he is. As long as his policies aren’t the same way his personality is, I’m perfectly fine with that. If stuff gets done, I’m all for it. 

Although he might act like this on TV, behind closed doors and at the table, I’m sure he thinks about it a lot. Like I said, I do my own research about certain things and have read into what’s passed. 

Do you encourage others to vote?

I think it’s important when it comes [down to it]. It’s like driving, you know. It’s a milestone that you hit and it’s just like, why not? I mean, you have the privilege to. I would assume that other than having to pay for an ID, it’s free. So why not? And I’m not going around constantly toting a sign saying ‘go vote.’ At the same time, they’re eligible; go for it. If they say ‘I’m not going to,’ then I say, ‘Okay.’ It would be good if you want change, but if you don’t, or don’t want to do anything about it, it’s perfectly fine with me. 

Do you think that every vote counts?

It’s very important that people go vote just simply because it’s a right. They have the ability to possibly [evoke] change. But at the same time, [there has to be] a set amount of people to influence [the vote]. Of course the individual vote matters, but on the large scale of things, [your vote is] 0.01% versus everyone else.

Though your vote is important — [and] you should definitely go do it — just because you voted doesn’t mean it’s gonna change. 

Jacob Kaminsky

Over time, Senior Jacob Kaminsky’s views have changed; his parents used to influence him heavily, but now his stance completely opposes theirs. No matter how much he disagrees with them, his confidence in his political knowledge has kept them from swaying his decision. He values economic betterment and social equality. 

Have any external factors influenced your decision?

My beliefs have changed [with time]. My parents used to have a big influence on who I was going to vote for, but now I think my parents are dumb when it comes to politics, so I don’t listen to them. 

How confident are you in your knowledge of politics? Has this knowledge affected your vote?

I’m pretty confident for the most part. I do quite a bit of research. I’m pretty good at shutting people down who don’t know what they’re talking about.  

What factors has your candidate of choice displayed that have attracted you?

Personality either way doesn’t matter because both of them are very unprofessional. It’s policies for the most part: what they’re able to accomplish, what they want to be able to do, and whether or not they’ll be able to accomplish that.

Economy is a big one because the economy has done well for a while and then, due to the pandemic, it shut down again. Economic policies will help it get back on its feet. It’s gonna take a while to get to that period, but the economy is gonna help out the most [with my vote]. Also, working to help people. Equality-wise, stuff like that. 

Do you encourage others to vote?

If you have a strong opinion, I think you should vote, because it’s your right. You need to exercise your right. If you don’t vote and the person you don’t like is elected, then there’s nothing you did to keep them [from getting elected].

Do you think it’s important for people to encourage others to vote?

I think people should, because the younger generation usually doesn’t vote, and they’re so numerous they could change the way our country [does things]. 

Do you think every vote counts? 

Every vote counts. Despite people not knowing it, it makes a difference.

Though our interviewees have varying opinions, there’s something they all agree on: every young person should go vote. They believe that as Americans, we have a right to have our voices heard and a responsibility to be as involved as we can in the country we call home. 

The cutoff is October 5th— register before it’s too late!