First-Time Voters Eye Midterms

HPHS seniors look forward to casting ballots

By Chloe Ching and Carley Hutchison

Mary Ellen Schoellkopf found registering to vote a simple enough task when she turned 18.

The Highland Park High senior went online and took care of that during her AP Government class.

“Every vote matters, so I can’t wait to finally participate in this democratic tradition,” Schoellkopf said.

While some teens might not give much thought to what pundits view as pivotal midterm elections, others like Schoellkopf embrace what they see as a privilege with excitement.

Highland Park seniors Ben Able, Logan Parette, and Pete Ratchford also discussed what this milestone of early adulthood means to them.

“I think everyone should use their voice to vote,” said Able, who looks forward to participating in democracy in a new way.

Parette, wanting to be prepared, preregistered before her birthday.

“I think our troops and our military fought hard for our right to have freedom in this country, and I think it’s our job as American citizens to use that right for good and to speak our voice for our democracy,” she said.

The high school has encouraged those who have turned 18 or will do so by Election Day by sometimes offering registration cards in the hallways.

“I find politics very interesting, and it’s cool to know what’s going on in the country,” Pete Ratchford said.

With Nov. 8 approaching, Parette is weighing the candidates and the issues.

“When I was young, my parents never talked about their political views and never told me, ‘This is what you should believe,’ so I took what they believed in, and I weighed it against my personal values, and that’s how I created my own political views,” she said. “As I was younger, I definitely leaned more toward one side, but as I have grown up and matured, I have realized that compromise is the best thing for our country.”

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