This past mid-term election on Nov. 3, some Pioneer students took to the polls to vote in the public election for their first time. The right for United States citizens aged 18 and above to vote is constituted under the 26th Amendment, which was passed in 1971. Although a majority of Pioneer students have yet to turn 18, a few seniors were eligible and fulfilled their citizenship duties to vote for their local and state politicians.
William Rudberg, a senior, cast his ballot as a way to “fully participate in the election.” As a child, Rudberg would travel to the polls with his parents and became interested in elections.
Mrs. Van Dusen, AP Government and teacher at Pioneer, believes that students and young people aged 18 and above should undeniably cast their votes. Pioneer senior, Brett Boehman says that “voting is a privilege that should not be ignored.”
Van Dusen adds that teen voting is “a wonderful opportunity, yet many young voters cannot fulfill their vote due to various circumstances.”
Van Dusen remembers her first time voting “in the 1984 presidential election” and the thrill of casting her first ballot. Walking out of the polls, Rudberg said he “felt fulfilled and excited.”
Some Pioneer students participated in the election as Election Inspectors rather than actual voters. These students were mostly juniors, unable yet to vote. This program was run by Ann Arbor City Council and required a training session to become acquainted with the voting software. With this job, students were paid to be trained and work at an assigned precinct on Election Day. Pioneer junior Rachael Goldberg worked at the Lawton Elementary precinct running the computer software and assisting with the voting process. She says that the job “was stressful” because she “was a major component in the election process” and “couldn’t mess anything up,” but that the experience was well worth it.
Goldberg adds that participating in the election first-hand showed her an example of how the government functions and gave her an idea of how motivated citizens can impact their government “both on the local scale and national scale.”
Another Pioneer junior, Chris Schweitzer, partook in the election as an election monitor as well. Schweitzer learned “how to manage time and stay courteous with people even when tired” and is considering participating again next year.
The participation of Pioneer students both voting and working at the polls makes Van Dusen optimistic for the future of American politics and public policy, she said.