BENGALS FROM BOTH ANGLES: Are 18 year old’s obligated to vote?


Dominique Munsie

Ben Zielinski not feeling obligated to vote

Students turning 18 this year had the special opportunity of voting during the 2022 midterm elections. While the continuously devolving state of the world and United States politics pressures youths into participating in the voting process, the question arises: should 18 year old’s be obligated to vote? 

The answer is absolutely not.

There are hundreds of factors involved in voting. Becoming knowledgeable on candidates as well as their policies grows increasingly difficult with biased news sources demanding their viewers to vote a certain way. 

Uneducated voting, then, has disastrous effects on elections, bringing high turnout to unsatisfactory candidates. Those nescient voters end up poisoning others with reactionary news outlets that provide questionable information.

Finding the right sources to study upcoming elections is hard enough, and as a senior, balancing AP classes, band or choir concerts, sports events and clubs, and work while worst of all: preparing for college–all should take priority. Time is money after all, and many students just do not have it.

There is also much more than studying the candidates when it comes to voting. Understanding the inner workings and mechanisms of the United States government is another essential part to voting.

A 5 on the AP government exam does not necessarily equate to staunch understandings of complex social issues plaguing the country. The current climate of politics is a raging storm of confusion and hate, and choosing to stay uninvolved is OK.

Many seniors are still coming to grasp their own youths, from building their future careers to simply developing a music taste. Senior year gives students a final glimpse at the salad days before plunging headfirst into adulthood. 

So is this a preach against voting? No, not at all. If my peers are comfortable shaping the future with their vote, then I encourage them: go vote. 

But while voting can be a privilege, it can also be a burden to those who already have enough stacked on their plate. There is a lot more to voting than checking a box; and there is certainly a lot more to worry about in high school than voting.