Essays from Virgin Islands

High school student
Born: 1982

Essay themes: Lowering the voting age; required debates; Election Day registration; Internet voting; getting more young people to run for office

The number of young people voting today is at an all time low. Many young people just don't see the point in voting. There are many reasons why young people do not find it necessary to vote. If America would like to see more young people voting, there are some changes in the electoral system that need to be made. Young people would be more likely to vote if the voting age was lowered, debates were required between all opposing politicians running for office, if a person could register to vote on the same day designated for voting, and Internet voting was an option.

The solutions that I feel would be most effective are to have more young politicians running for office, more issues that affect young people as the focus of campaigns, and teaching young people were the importance of exercising the right to vote. I honestly believe that if the voting age were lowered from 18 to at least 16, many more young people would vote. Although it does not appear that young people are paying attention to the candidates' views, we are. Many young people have opinions as to who they think should be voted into office and who should not, but without the option of being able to cast a vote, they can only encourage their parents to vote for whomever they would like to see get into office. Lowering the voting age would give young people a chance to express their views on politics.

Debates should be required between all opposing politicians running for office. During this time we could see what the candidate stands for. We would know if they could stand up to the rigors of their coveted position. Debates show what a person thinks about a particular subject. The schools should hold forums in which politicians can come and debate while students ask questions that they feel are important to them on the local level. On the national level this may be quite hard to do, but when national candidates visit, a select amount of young people should be allowed to attend so they can listen to the politicians and ask questions.

A person should be able to register to vote on the same day that the election occurs. It is not fair that a person has to register in advance just to be able to cast a vote. Currently, the age at which a person can register to vote is 18 years. If the voting day happens to be November 7, 2000, and that is the same day a young person becomes 18, they should not be denied the right to vote. A person should also be able to vote at any voting station once they have registered. If this option becomes available, I believe many young people would vote because they would not have to wait until the next year.

Internet voting should also be an alternative. Many young people spend a lot of time on the Internet. Also, if the voting session happens to fall on a day when young people must be at school and would not be able to get away from classes, when will they be able to vote? If Internet voting becomes an alternative, more people, not just young people, would vote because voting would just be a click away, and they won't be required to leave what they are doing to go and vote.

Most of all, I believe that more young people would vote if there were younger politicians running for office, more issues concerning young people were addressed in campaigns, and if young people were taught the importance of the right to vote. Most elder politicians do not appeal to young people because they do not feel these politicians have any interest in them. Younger politicians would be more understanding of the issues young people face today and are sure to address them. If younger people do not desire to run for office, then the politicians who do decide to run should address other issues pertaining to young people other than schools and laws forbidding young people to drink or smoke.

There are other issues facing young people today that can be addressed. On a personal level, I would only want to vote for someone who I think can help me in some way. Most young people feel this way. Young people should also be taught about the privilege that is extended to Americans to be able to vote. Most young people do not see the importance of voting. They believe that voting is just a duty their parents perform on November 7 that has no real significance. Young people should be taught the importance of voting so it will be more valuable to them and encourage them to vote when they are allowed to. Voting is important to many other young people and myself because it gives us the chance to choose who we want and who we do not want to represent us. Here in the Virgin Islands we are afforded some of the opportunities mentioned above, such as the debates, and it helps us with choosing whether we would vote or not. In our school we are allowed to vote in a mock election to give us an idea of what voting would be like and also as a prediction as to whom will get into office. This is another option that can be proposed nationally if it hasn't already been done. Voting is just as important to young people as it is to adults because what affects our parents also affects us, whether directly or indirectly. Changes in our electoral system are important to young people because we feel we should be able to exercise our right to vote. Since most young people are too young to vote, we feel left out and wish to be included with whatever is going on in our government. We are to be the leaders of tomorrow, so we should be able to begin by being interested in voting for the best person to represent us.