On the Way Out: Primary elections from a senior who cannot vote

Voters+at+the+Hawaii+primary.+Staff+Writer+Kayla+Albers+writes+about+the+importance+of+voting+in+these+elections+as+someone+who+isn%27t+18+in+her+latest+post+for+her+blog+On+the+Way+Out.+

Courtesy Ryan Ozawa

Voters at the Hawaii primary. Staff Writer Kayla Albers writes about the importance of voting in these elections as someone who isn't 18 in her latest post for her blog On the Way Out.

Kayla Albers, Staff Writer

There comes a time in the life of every American teenager where they turn 18 and can legally vote. That time, however, has not come for me yet. 

As a senior who cannot vote, Tuesday, March 3 was simply a day off from school. Not that I’m complaining about having a day off, but watching from the outside as my friends and fellow peers headed to the voting booths at Melican and Trottier Middle Schools was a torturous ordeal. This election might be the most important primary election of my lifetime, but I have no say. 

For a politically and actively involved teenager, voting is something I have, and must continue, to look forward to. Voting is a way to take action and allow one’s voice to be heard among the estimated 330 million United States citizens. From an outsider’s perspective, nothing seems less appealing than heading to a tight, sweaty gym where the majority of Northborough’s 15,000 residents will be in and out all day. But, from a member of the American youth whose birthday comes just a mere two months after the primaries, there comes great privilege and excitement in stepping into that gym, standing in line and filling out my own ballot.

Throughout the course of my life, my political views have been taught and learned through my parents, grandparents and other adult relatives. Presumably, others face influence from their families and long to make their own political choices and be able to spread their wings, so to speak. That being said, I’m one of the lucky ones in that my views line up with my parents’. 

The same cannot be said for several of my friends and peers, who cannot express their political and personal opinions in their own homes. When talking to peers and friends I have come to understand that many people feel their views are oppressed at home by parents or other adults, even sometimes by siblings. This all ends when someone turns 18, as their parents can no longer control how their children feel. Voting allows teens and adults to take control of their own views and spread their opinions confidentially and safely; many people have not been able to make a political decision before standing alone in the voting booths. 

The importance of voting differs from person to person. Despite my immense interest in being able to exercise my right to vote, I know several 18 year-olds that have shown no interest in voting, and many more who are even unregistered. Seeing as the youth of America are predicted to take over the voting booths, the next eight months gearing up to the presidential election are essential for young adults such as myself to come of age and register to have their voices heard. 

Many members of our new generation of voters understand the importance of taking control of our lives politically, and with the future of the United States of America in the hands of millenials and Gen Z kids, I have faith that voting statistics will increase; we live in a generation of very opinionated people who know the privilege they have had bestowed upon them. From a high school senior who cannot yet vote, I highly encourage anyone who can vote to do so. We must take the small freedoms and decisions we have been given and use them to our utmost advantage.