Students vote in presidential election

Madison Madura

   The presidential election of 2020 has been one of the most popular elections in U.S. history. This election has spread enthusiasm to Nixa High School voters. According to news channel WUSA, on Sunday Nov. 7, the tallied votes from the people eligible for voting, were at 68 percent.

   Madalyn Tuning, a senior at Nixa High School, said voting is important to her. 

   “I think for me, voting is important because I like being able to share my voice and I just felt very accomplished being able to go out and vote,” Tuning said. “I felt like an adult and I felt really powerful. In general it’s good that we’re voting because if the people didn’t vote we wouldn’t like the government that is in charge of us. The whole point of voting is to keep the people in charge of the people, and we want to like the laws that we have to abide to.” 

   The United States is a republic, and not a true democracy. In a republic, people vote for representatives to represent the people, who then use a democratic process to process laws and legislation, rather than majority rule in a population. Missouri State Senator of district 20 Eric Burlison said first-time voters may not understand the difference.

   “Most voters don’t understand,” Burlison said. “Whenever I speak to classes the most important thing I try to underscore is that America is a republic. There is a huge difference. In fact, the founding fathers were very adamant that we provide free public education for that purpose, so that future voters will be educated and understand to keep our nation a republic. That is in almost every constitution in the United States, to hope you know the true evils of a democracy, and to make sure our minorities are protected. I would not want anything to do with true democracy.”

  This election has been the highest percentage of voter turnout in 50 years. According to the United States Constitution’s 26th amendment, as long as someone is 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, not incarcerated and legally registered to vote, someone may do so. Exercising this right to vote is a way for citizens to speak out peacefully and support candidates and causes they believe in. Being prepared to vote takes work and research. There are resources to explore, and it is good to be prepared because if someone shows up not knowing who or what to vote for, they could be making an uninformed decision. Tuning said she was prepared. 

   “I researched all that I could,” Tuning said. “I went on to our website by our secretary of state and it explained everything about voters and voting. I looked at that just to make sure I knew about what I may or may not be asked about, so I wouldn’t make a decision that I’m against by accident.”

   Another way to be informed about what might be on the ballot is to review a county’s sample ballot. Most sample ballots can be viewed by visiting the county’s website or courthouse. 

   Advertising campaigns for an election are a common way to get voters on their side, but some of this information can be untrue or unreasonable. If someone doesn’t know the differences between the two presidential candidates, they may be persuaded by advertising to help them decide on their vote. Burlison explains in further detail how some decisions may be made. 

   “Sadly, a lot of first-time voters are influenced by advertising while there is a lot of truth, they won’t tell you the full truth,” Burlison said. “I think that people need to understand the things about negative ads. It’s the only way to hear negative information because they aren’t gonna say it about themselves. I think that people should look at ads negatively or positively, take it with a grain of salt, and I would recommend that you do your own homework and see for yourself if the info is true or not. I do think that if you are seeing someone’s name pop up in a lot of ads doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best candidate.”

   The voter turnouts this year have been up more than they have been in 50 years, with more than 68 percent of the registered voters actually voting. This data shows many Americans may have put in more time this year than they ever have before. Tuning said voting in these conditions felt empowering.

   “It feels amazing to vote, especially this year,” Tuning said. “I personally was super excited to vote for the first time because I have a strong sense of civic duty. I really want to be a law abiding citizen even if my vote out of one of the millions it’s important for me and it’s really thrilling that I get my voice out there in something that affects the whole country.”