by Kaitlyn Kincaid ’18 and Caroline Favret ’18
Last March, 17-year-old American citizens who would be 18 by the Nov. 8 general election were given the right to vote in the presidential primary. Franklin county Judge Richard Frye ruled against Secretary of State Jon Husted in a lawsuit filed by a national voting rights organization on behalf of nine 17-year old plaintiffs.
The overturn of the lawsuit gave young Ohioans a say in who they would be voting for in the upcoming historic election; UAHS Senior Slade Morley took advantage of this ruling to vote in the March presidential primary as a 17-year-old.
“I think that it’s really cool that I get to express my opinion and choose who I will be potentially voting for in the general election,” Morley said.
High school students learned about candidates mostly through social media. Even though UAHS Junior Avery Grow will not be eligible to vote in the upcoming election however she believes that 17-year-old Americans deserve the right to vote in the presidential primaries.
“I’ve noticed that some of my peers have a lot of opinions on politics, and I think that they should be able to be expressed in voting,” Grow said. “Young people are educated on candidates and elections through social media, and in our government classes we learn about candidates and take quizzes to see how our ideals correspond with the candidates.”
The state’s ruling that 17-year-olds who will be 18 come election time be given the right to vote is a monumental step in the future of the United States of America and gives the younger generation more of a political voice. The percentage of Millennials and Generation X voters is growing in proportion to the Baby Boomers, and their vote is crucial to both candidates this election cycle.
One way to become educated before voting in the general election is through the three presidential debates, the first of which aired on Sept. 26th and was the most-watched in American history. According to Nielsen, 84 million people watched across 13 television channels, not including C-SPAN or online streaming.
On Twitter, a social media platform popular among young people, there were 17.1 interactions about the 90-minute event, which also puts it at the most tweeted debate ever.
Senior Andrew Ballenger sees the effect of Twitter and politics on his peers especially, “I think the younger generation is more involved especially due to social media giving a lot of kids information that they used to not have,” Ballenger said.
New voters who were given the power to chose their candidates, thanks to Ohio’s decision on 17 year old voters in the primaries, will shape the future of America for generations to come.