by Sydney Wiser ‘23
The November 8 midterms were important in changing the composition of Congress and state governments. However, for many Sherwood seniors, the midterms were memorable for another reason: it was the first election that they voted in.
Senior Michael Day has been going to the polls with his family for years but it was only this year that he could vote himself. Going into the first election cycle where he could vote, it was important to him to do his research beforehand. Day watched the gubernatorial candidate debates and looked at candidates’ policies on their websites. He also researched incumbent candidates’ voting history.
Senior Tran Le also prioritized doing research before heading to the polls. She read articles about each of the candidates and referendums that were on the ballot so she knew enough to make an informed decision about what to vote for. “The booklet that the board of elections sends has a sample ballot with all the offices and referendums you can vote on in that election. It made me realize you vote for a lot more offices/positions than you think,” said Le.
On election day, the voting process was fairly straightforward for the two seniors. They had registered to vote when they received their driver’s licenses and were mailed information including their polling place location and which seats were up for election beforehand. When it was time to vote, they went to their designated polling locations and filled out their ballots. Both Le and Day had the option to either vote electronically or on paper ballots and chose to vote using paper ballots because the line was shorter.
There were also other opportunities to participate in the electoral process even for students who could not vote yet. Some students volunteered their time at local polling places to help keep election day running smoothly. There were also opportunities to work for pay. They instructed voters on how to scan their ballots and helped with registration.
For the students who will be voting in the next couple of years, Day advises them to start thinking about their political stances now. “It takes time to really understand what you believe in and what you want. The sooner you can figure those out, and can start fine tuning them as you grow, the better. You don’t want the first time that you think about politics to be the day before the election,” said Day.