Seniors prepare to vote in their first election

Many seniors are preparing to vote in their first ever election, one that many consider to be the most important one the country has ever seen. For seniors like Rylee Staudt and Clare Williams, voting is an important right of passage that they look forward to exercising. 

Staudt is an undecided voter, part of the 11 percent of Americans who are still deciding between the two candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. For Staudt, her ability to vote is an important milestone. “I’m very excited to vote this year,” Staudt said. “The wait for being 18 and becoming an adult and, of course, vote gives me a sense of empowerment.”

For Williams, voting was easy and simple since she already had a clear candidate in mind. “I actually already sent in my ballot with the absentee/mail in ballot, so I have completed my voting,” Williams said. “I voted for Vice President Joe Biden because he and I see eye to eye on many more things than I agree with President Trump on. Biden was not my first choice, but out of the two major candidates, I’d take him over President Trump any day.”

Although she doesn’t often partake in politics, Staudt said that last election resulted in a lot of new conversations with people she knew. “I wouldn’t say the last election affected me personally in any way. I’m not much into politics, but I would say it indirectly affected me by constantly hearing and seeing political advertisements everywhere. People like to state their opinion and beliefs on social media sites and especially with the pandemic people are contributing their thoughts more than ever,” Staudt said. 

Williams said that part of her motivation to vote this year came from the result of the 2016 presidential election. “The results from the last election have made me very anxious and worried for the lives of many Americans as I do not believe President Trump has everyone’s best interests at heart. This can be seen especially with his handling of the coronavirus and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to his inaction,” Williams said. “If I could have voted in the last election I would have voted for Hillary Clinton, once again because I agreed with her more than President Trump and because I wanted there to be a woman in the top office in the U.S.”

Although Staudt is unsure who she is going to vote for, she encouraged seniors who are newly eligible to get out and vote for whichever candidate they personally believe will do the best job. “My advice to seniors is to vote for who you want to vote for. Do your own research and reflect upon the changes you want to see in the world and not what others want. Voting is a personal right and not one that should be persuaded by others,” Staudt said. 

Williams echoed similar advice to Staudt, and said that she hopes that the younger generation utilizes mail-in ballots so they can enjoy a stress free voting experience. “I felt confident on who I was going to vote for, and because of the absentee ballot, there wasn’t a lot of anxiety to vote in person,” Williams said. “To my fellow seniors who are able to vote, I would encourage them to, no matter who they are voting for. It is one of our basic rights as a citizen and we need to take every opportunity we can to participate in democracy.”

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