Educating young voters: America's next generation stresses importance of voting

While many young adults are ambivalent about voting, those at the polls discuss the impact and importance of Election Day.

Polling centers opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m. to give voters plenty of time to cast their ballot. For Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF students the polling center at E.S. Bird Library was a great convenience.

"I always vote. I think it’s important to voice our opinions," said Liz Droge-Young, a PhD student studying biology.

"If you want change, you got to vote for it yourself."
- Aaron Altman.

Through the midterm elections Republicans had the opportunity to take control of the Senate by gaining majority seating. The possible shake up in the Senate could impact which issues affecting the U.S. are addressed. In this year’s midterm elections there were specific issues voters have at the forefront of their minds.

"If you want change, you got to vote for it yourself," said Aaron Altman, a medical student at SUNY Upstate. It’s Altman’s first time voting in Syracuse. He made sure to get out to the polls so he could help make a difference. Women’s issues and education are two topics Altman finds important when voting, he said.

This year’s midterm elections had the chance to make a huge impact. Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras was not sure how the election would turn out, but she stressed the importance of voting and its contribution to the democratic process.

"I just think this is a really important year," said Contreras. "Issues related to minimum wage, healthcare, issues that are very important and impact the children that I serve everyday."

Voters had the opportunity to elect public officials who will resolve impactful issues such as immigration, the economy, and foreign policy.

Getting people, especially those between ages 18 and 30, out to vote is important but educating them on the importance of voting and impact it can have shouldn’t be overlooked, said Contreras.

"It’s important that we teach civics education in school, so that they understand that one vote really matters," Contreras said. “In Syracuse City schools we really push civic engagement and civic responsibility.”

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