Students Elect to Participate

High school students don’t really care who becomes president.

Statistically speaking, that is.

According to the Horatio Alger Association’s The State of Our Nation’s Youth (2012), as many as 39 percent of high school students in the United States say they “don’t really care who wins” the upcoming presidential election, up from only 22 percent of high school students who were indifferent in 2008.

The Highlander surveyed Seaholm’s seniors who will be eligible to vote this November, to gauge voter interest regarding the future leader of the country.

Of the students who responded to the survey, nearly 89 percent are planning on voting in the upcoming election.  Twenty five percent of those students plan to vote for Mitt Romney, compared to the 38 percent for Barack Obama, while another 38 percent chose “other,” or are undecided.

The most prevalent issue impacting these students’ decisions about which candidate to vote for was their economic plan for the future.

“Economic policy is my main reason,” senior Evan Connelly said. “I am not concerned about the candidates’ social standing; I want to make sure that my money is being put to good use.”

Other issues students are considering include education, foreign policy, social issues, and birth control rights.  One respondent simply stated “Romney is a moron.”

Voting is a major cornerstone of our constitution, a fundamental right of citizens, and an important way for people to voice their thoughts regarding national politics.

“Many of the issues in the election this year directly impact you,” Seaholm Government teacher Barbara Harte said.  “It is young people who are dying in the war on terror; it is young women who are impacted most by the pro-life/ pro-choice movement.  If social security is to be available to you when you retire, you need to care about it now, while it is still around, and prevent it from being dismantled.”

And, those who are not eligible to vote this time around can still get involved in the campaign.

In Oakland County, students are taking the initiative.

“We currently have high school students that come in regularly to help with numerous tasks,” Dennis Putman, of the Oakland County GOP, said.  “These include research, letter writing, data management, making phone calls, stuffing envelopes and literature bags.  This year alone we have had at least 40 high school students spend dozens of hours each.”

Seaholm senior Heather Shen recently worked with Obama for America.  She volunteered, at first, to get extra credit for her Government class, but the experience turned out to be rewarding for her and her friends.

“It was interesting to see different points of view,” Shen said.  “We got to see a strong Democratic supporter who shared our opinions.”

“Citizens have until October 9th, 28 days before the November 6th Election Day, to register to vote in the national election,” Birmingham Deputy City Clerk Doreen Martin said.

For more information on how to register to vote, see “How to Register to Vote,” (sidebar).

“If you have never voted in Michigan and register by mail, you must appear in person to vote in the first election in which you participate,” Martin said. “This requirement does not apply if you personally hand deliver the mail registration form to your county, city, or township clerk’s office instead of mailing the form.”

The Michigan Secretary of State office warns never to send an original document.

High school students can begin the voting registration process while they are still 17, as long as they will turn 18 by Election Day.

   To contact the Oakland County offices of the Republican and Democratic parties, students can go to oaklandgop.net and ocdp.org.

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