October 2018 (Volume 69, Issue 1)
By Nina Yee, Staff Writer
On the first day of school, Admiral Gracey Drive was swarming with excited students and campaigners. Many students, indifferent to the matter, simply walked by the signs waving in the air. However, for a few select seniors, these signs supporting local primary candidates were significant: this election marked the first time that they could vote.
Voter turnout for the 18-24 age group, especially in local primary elections, is notoriously low across the country. Seniors busy with schoolwork and college applications may feel that voting is not worth their time. Additionally, many will leave Needham for post-secondary plans the following fall and feel that their vote will not affect them. But for seniors Emma Stoloff and Caleb Marcus, exercising their civic duty on Tuesday was a priority.
For Stoloff, participating in the primaries allows her to have a voice, no matter how small. “Many elections have shown that every vote counts,” she says. Marcus finds that voting in the primaries gives him an opportunity to create local change for an issue he is passionate about. “I voted in the primaries because I want Massachusetts to change. I want us to protect all members of our community including those who are undocumented. California seems to be taking the lead on immigrant rights, and I think Massachusetts should be fighting [for] this too.” Following candidates on social media platforms like Twitter helped these seniors stay informed about local races that do not reach the national scale. Both Stoloff and Marcus interact with family, friends, and community members to understand their local civic impact.
Marcus also adopts an optimistic outlook on voting. “Even though I might not be living in Massachusetts next year, it is important to make positive change in the world, regardless of if I benefit from it.” Stoloff plans to submit an absentee ballot, no matter how far from Needham she is. “Active citizenship is necessary for democracy rather than oligarchy,” states Marcus. As politics begin to affect us personally, from issues of school safety to the cost of our education, voting is one crucial way to enact change in our society.