After the 18th birthday: young voters in Glen Rock


Photo Credit: Madelyn Willoughby

Isabel Siggers poses for a photo in the senior hallway. Siggers turned 18 on Sept. 29, 2018 and is excited to vote in the upcoming midterm election. She has been passionate about voting since she was a child.

by Madelyn Willoughby, Copy Editor

Each November, Isabel Siggers and her family travel to the polls together. She remembers going into the booth with her father and being able to press each button for the candidates he wanted to vote for. With each press of the “cast vote” button, she became more and more thrilled with the idea of someday being able to vote.

Siggers turned eighteen on Sept. 29, 2018. Now a legal adult, she went to the DMV to get her basic license and to register to vote. She feels voting is important for her and her peers because it allows them to have input in local affairs.

“Certainly at the local level every year it’s extremely important because these are the people making decisions that directly affect your life,” Siggers said. “Like the school board and the local council, those have a really big impact.”

While Siggers and a few of her peers are passionate about voting, she still suspects that many of the legal age will not vote in the upcoming election. She has found that many of her peers are making excuses not to vote, saying that they have the day off and don’t want to worry about it.

In 2016, millenials accounted for 25 percent of the voting population, amounting to approximately thirty four million voters. Many young voters under 30 report that they will definitely vote during the national election, but usually only a fraction of them follow through on election day.

Siggers believes that this data may be a result of the belief that elections are a choice between the lesser of two evils. However, she believes this argument to be weak because she feels that it is impossible to believe that any candidate in an election is perfect. In addition, she also feels that if it is truly a decision between the lesser of two evils, it is important to choose the lesser.

“Even if you don’t like the people on the ballot you should still research and pick the one you are more okay with,” Siggers said, “just because you don’t love someone on the ballot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote.”

In order to get more young people to vote, Siggers believes that it should be introduced at a younger age. During her childhood, Siggers remembers going to the polls with her parents when she was as young as eight years old. She recalls that her parents introduced her to voting as part of being an adult and a responsible citizen.

Rudolph Templin, a local elections board worker at Borough Hall, has been working the polls for a number of years, and describes the events taking place on election day. He arrives early to set up the machines and books with the names of registered voters. After the polls close, the machines are locked and the keys are returned to the counties to ensure security.

Templin believes voting is important for young citizens if they want to have an effect on elected officials, but believes it is up to the individual to make that decision. Templin said voting for young people is “no more or less important than for anybody else.”

As the midterm election looms, Siggers is concerned about what will happen on election day. While Siggers believes that each year there is concern about the political climate, she believes this election will be somewhat unique.

“It’s worrying that we have such contention around politics,” Siggers said. “I’m nervous to see what’s going to happen after this election.”

With the current political climate, many young people are promising to vote and are emerging as political advocates following events during Donald Trump’s presidency. Some feel that these conditions will cause young voters to be highly influential in this election. Templin, throughout his experience working polls at Borough Hall, said that depending on the political climate, usually the largest change is “just the number of voters possibly, that’s all.”