One Ballot, Coming Right Up

How Election Day is changing for seniors eligible to vote for the first time.


Sophie Brown

According to a poll of 30 EBHS seniors, 73.3% support vote-by-mail in the 2020 election and about 63.3% have already registered to vote.

For many seniors turning 18 this year, being a legal adult is a milestone that comes with exciting perks. You can change your name, adopt a child, and get a Costco card, just to name a few (not in that order). Perhaps most excitingly, you can vote in a presidential election. But as the 2020 election is put on the backburner in the midst of the pandemic, the first election many seniors participate in will be an unorthodox one as people are left wondering: How will we make it to the polls this November? Although the president is reluctant to embrace absentee voting, it seems like a viable possibility in many states. And while not even the White House has the answers, you can still register to vote this election season.

Some seniors, like Aiden Dias, don’t support mail-in voting under any circumstances. “It makes voter fraud easier to commit, and we should never sacrifice a fair election. We should do it once and do it right; otherwise, we run the risk of recounts and lawsuits and other complications like we saw at the Iowa Caucus,” he says. However, 73.3% of seniors in a recent poll approve of its use this election season while just 26.7% oppose it, seeing it as a legitimate and necessary alternative to protect public safety.

It’s important that everyone is civic-minded because government affects our day-to-day lives in many ways we may not realize. From the schools we go to to the streets we drive on, the government is involved.

— Andrew Flatt, 12

“Given the dangers that will likely come with voting in person this election, it is imperative that every registered voter receive a mail-in ballot,” says senior Andrew Flatt, a student in AP IPLE, the civics course at EBHS. “The reason that many lawmakers, specifically Republicans, are reluctant to support this is because they know that it would lead to record voting and major losses for the GOP.”

Before remote learning, the counseling office held a voter registration event at the high school that allowed many seniors to register early. Some, like Andrew, were also able to pre-register to vote when they got their basic licenses. Seeing as the DMV is now closed, however, those who haven’t done so already are turning to mail.

First time voters can register to vote at the New Jersey Division of Elections website. New Jersey only accepts applications by mail, not online, so the National Voter Registration Form is available online to print. No matter what the future holds for this election, the stay-at-home order doesn’t mean you have to miss out on casting your first vote — and staying involved is one of the easiest and most vital things you can do.