As 2020 comes to an end, it’s finally time for Gen Z to vote in one of the most important elections of their lifetime. A deadly pandemic that has killed 200,000, massive fires caused by climate change and nationwide protests fighting against racial tensions are just a few of the things first-time voters must keep in mind when they decide who will lead America down a brighter path.
Gen Z is taking a stand and deciding that they must step up in order to bring balance to the United States through their vote. However, many youths feel uneducated when it comes to this process. Kaia Williams shares her worries and past confusion surrounding the modern world of American politics.
“I honestly before this year did not know anything about voting,” Williams said. “Because it’s not something that’s talked about in school or anything. You have to find out things on your own. I did not know where to go to vote. I did not know how to register to vote or when I had to register to vote. So it’s kind of nerve-wracking just because I’ve never done any of that before.”
This confusion around voting has also impacted Skylar Nguyen who is worried about how capable other high schools in Mississippi are in terms of voting opportunities and access to different points of view on politics.
“I don’t feel anxious for myself because I attend a school like MSMS, but I feel nervous for the other high schoolers voting,” Nguyen said. “I feel like they’re just going to be influenced by their family which will most likely make them conservative when they’re not actually. It’s just they’ve never heard the other side.”
It’s no question that the U.S.’s federal government is dominated by only two ruling parties. The lack of flexibility in differing viewpoints and stances that comes with a two-party system can feel non-inclusive to many U.S. citizens, especially new time voters who have just entered the realm of politics. While third party voting is a viable option for any election, many people feel that it only benefits one of the two main candidates. Max Dobbs doesn’t think the two-party system is the best option for an election.
“Honestly I don’t like parties,” Dobbs said. “I wish that Democrats and Republicans didn’t have so much power, but pragmatically, I should probably vote for a Democrat or a Republican.”
Trevor Allen agrees that the two-party system is not up to par with the U.S.’s policy against complete ownership of any aspect of society, including politics.
“If we had a ranking system, then it would be more viable,” Allen said. “Right now we just have a duopoly of the two parties. So, it sucks.”
This duopoly of the two-party system has decided that the main consensus for voters is to pick out the lesser of two evils. With little confidence in a third party win, many voters that have decided to vote for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump have decided to vote for the candidate they prefer over the other.
Elizabeth Seage is disappointed, like many other new voters, in her range of candidates to choose from.
“I always had this idea in my head that my first time voting would be like the candidate that was my ideal candidate, a candidate that I would totally unequivocally support,” Seage said. “That’s not really Joe Biden for me, but I’m still going to vote for him.”
Williams cannot condone the actions of Trump while in office and realizing the best option for America is a vote for blue.
“I’m not gonna lie, both candidates aren’t my favorites,” Williams said. “I do feel like I’m kind of picking the lesser of two evils. Just the past four years, Trump has done a lot of things that I cannot support or condone, and I do not want him as my president.”
Despite the dramatic moral battle of voting in this year’s election, a first time vote is a landmark of becoming an adult who is independent and free-thinking both politically and generally. With the hectic landscape of 2020, first time voters are still excited, nervous and anxious like every generation before them.
“I think I might go with my older brother, or I might just go alone,” Nguyen said. “I don’t think it would be really great to go with parents or friends. I just don’t really want anyone to like try to influence my vote or tell me I’m wrong because at the end of the day it is my choice.”