I Interviewed My Friends About Why Voting Matters

If I’m being honest, it seems as if if our country is currently heading towards its demise. For too long, I and many marginalized groups have been oppressed by a system that’s supposed to be protecting us. There are people sitting in office are busy taking bribes and twiddling their thumbs. We have a “leader” who prioritizes the dividing and belittling of others. But enough is enough. The time has come for our generation to finally do something about it. For years, I and many teens have had to sit by, watching hate rise and take over. Now that is not the case; our voices are finally going to be heard once and for all. Though studies have showed there’s usually a low voter turnout between the ages of 18-25, I believe this time will be different. Just look at today's youth-led movements, from #NeverAgain to the undocumented youth's fight for DACA. These movements serve as a reminder that our voices do have power and that we won’t be silenced again. This month, I spoke to a few of my friends who, like me, will be voting in a major election for the first time. We discussed what it means to finally be voting, why our votes matter, and how our generation serves as a reminder that we’ll fight for the change we deserve. 


Pearl Hernandez, 18, California

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote? Pearl Hernandez: I currently am not, but I plan to register soon!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
PH: It means having a voice and [having] a say in major decisions that affect our future.

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
PH: Yes, because we all have voices and opinions to share. Voting is an action towards an effective future.


Nicole Allen, 18, Connecticut

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Nicole Allen: No, I currently am not, but as soon as I’m back from break I plan to!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
NA: It’s extremely liberating! It feels so good to be able to finally be a part of something that will make a real change, instead of just posting on Instagram. To physically vote is so important, because every vote counts!

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
NA: Absolutely! It’s vital for our [generation] to make every effort for their voices and opinions to be heard. Especially with the current state of our country.


Lyndsay Maguire, 18, Virginia


Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Lyndsay Maguire: Yes, I am!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
LM: The feeling is so surreal. I [always thought it would be cool] to finally vote! My mom always took me with her when she voted, and that’s when the idea of voting became instilled in my brain. Now that I have the opportunity, I definitely will not pass it up!

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
LM: I feel that it is very significant for our generation to vote, because if we don't use our power to vote, then we will never see the progress we want to be made! We have to be the generation that steps up and lets our voices be heard. 


Kenzie Davis, 18, Connecticut

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Kenzie Davis: Yes!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
KD: I’ve always looked forward to voting, because it’s a privilege that I’m lucky to have. I felt so helpless growing up and not being able to vote, because I felt like I had no tangible way to make a difference in local, state, or federal government. The idea of voting is empowering to me
it’s a small thing that can make a huge difference!

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
KD: Yes, especially with the crucial midterm elections coming up in November. We live in a time [in which] everyone is so divided, but we also live in a time [in which] everyone is very open concerning their views, so putting our words into action is important. Our generation will deal with the consequences of current elections and decisions within our government, so it’s vital that we give our input and choose leaders that recognize the weight of their choices.



Erika Colunga, 18, Texas

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Erika Colunga: Yes, I am registered to vote!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
EC: I just turned 18, and I feel that I have more power. I get the chance to vote
thus, I finally get to help shape our country.

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
EC: Today, more than ever, our generation definitely needs to vote. Our generation needs to take action into [its] own hands. The only way we make change is by generating a large turnout of millennial and Gen X voters. I believe that we have power. By voting, our generation gets to voice their opinion. We can contribute to our society and influence the government. The power lies in our votes and actions!



Rachel Dohner, 18, Illinois

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Rachel Dohner: Yes!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
RD: To me, voting in an election for the first time is really cool, because I’ve definitely been waiting to for a such long time! It’s a really small thing, but it’s so important especially for young people. Having the responsibility is stressful, but I love it because it makes me feel like an adult, like my voice is finally being heard. 


Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
RD: Yes, for sure! We have a lot to say, and we are learning so much! Social media is a way to spread social and political messages, and our generation is so good at utilizing that by using social media to highlight issues that the mainstream media doesn’t address. Due to the fact [that] we learn so much from it constantly, we get to be [more] up to date with current events and politics more than ever before! It’s super important to vote to show to ourselves and older adults that we are paying attention and are invested. 



Kathryn Springer, 18, Virginia

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Kathryn Springer: Yes, I’ve already registered to vote!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
KS: It means a lot to me to be voting in an election for the first time. Voting is something that people often take for granted, and I have never understood why. I see people all the time complaining about things that are happening in our country, yet when it comes time to vote, they don't. Then they're surprised to see that nothing has been changed. I'm excited to finally be able to voice my opinions and to have a say in what is going to be done in our country; I will finally be able to be a part in making some much needed positive changes to our country! 


Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
KS: I feel like it's super important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this. I mean, you saw how the last election went, and we don't want something like that to happen ever again! I feel like our generation is much more aware of what is going on, and we are very aware of the changes we want made. I feel like the only reason that the last election went the way it did was because our generation just missed the age cut-off. If there were more of us able to vote, we wouldn't have all these terrible things going on in our country right now. It's extremely important that our generation goes out and makes the changes we want to see and elect somebody who is actually going to help us actually make those changes. 



Trinity MaGarity, 18, Virginia


Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Trinity MaGarity: Unfortunately I currently am not, but I plan to soon! 

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
TM: I think when you vote for the first time, it’s very important to be educated about who exactly you’ll be voting [for], as it’s your chance to contribute to the choosing of people who represent what you think should be getting done. Also, you finally have your voice heard and matter for the first time!

Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
TM: At times like this, [when] we have a cabinet full of disgusting people behind [the president], I think it’s especially important that young people vote and bring about the real, important, and much needed change for progressiveness and equality.



Jayla Moore, 17, Virginia

Lithium: Are you currently registered to vote?
Jayla Moore: Yes, I was able to register at my school!

Lithium: What does it mean to you to be voting in an election for the first time?
JM: It means a lot that I am able to vote. There are so many people who do not have the right to vote in the United States, as well as in countries around the world. Not too long ago, my ancestors and African Americans did not have the right to vote, so I feel it is extremely important for me to vote. Being able to vote means that I can finally have my voice be heard by the politicians that have ignored my messages and emails throughout the year. I feel privileged to be able to speak out about the issues important to me and feel that by voting, I can do this!


Lithium: Do you feel it’s important that our generation gets out to vote in a time like this?
JM: I feel that it is extremely important that my generation votes. There is a misconception that teens “don’t know what they’re talking about” or are “just kids,” and I feel that by voting it really shows that we are passionate about our beliefs. A lot of young adults, especially more recently, feel that we are not heard by politicians and that money is valued more than what really matters to the people. Voter turnout for young adults is extremely low, which means that in order for our voices to truly be heard, we must vote!


By Jada Moore
Illustrations by Emma Sobiski

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