Seniors take part in democracy

Some seniors participated in the election of Virginias new governor.

Some seniors participated in the election of Virginia’s new governor.

Walking into the polling booth and reading over her ballot senior Christina Tran was excited to vote for the first time.

“I just wanted to practice my civic duty and finally voice my opinions,” Tran said.

Seniors who turned 18 on or before Nov. 5 were legally allowed to vote for the next Governor of Virginia, among other elected offices such as Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and sheriff.

The largest election that took place was the Gubernatorial election. The three major candidates were Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Sarvis is only the fourth minor party member to gather the required 10,000 signatures to appear on the state ballot in the past 40 years.

Many of the students old enough to vote were excited in the election for the first time.

“I was really excited to vote and it was really cool to be a part of the system,” Tran said.

The seniors who voted had a strong opinion on who they wanted to win.

“I really like Cuccinelli’s take on family life and I didn’t like what McAuliffe did while he worked for Clinton,” senior James Barker said.

Despite many seniors voting, many young people in the U.S. don’t vote contribute to a large number of Americans who are not registered to vote, or choose to not vote. According to the U.S. census, Only about 71% of eligible Americans (adults over the voting age of 18) even register to vote. Of those 71%, only about 57.5% turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential election, which was considered a high turnout, according to statistics provided by George Mason University. In a Virginia governor’s election, it is an even smaller number. Only about 53% of registered virginia voters went to the polls on election day according to The Washington Post.

“I think that kids our age our just uninformed on the issues. Even with government class, they don’t know which party is best for them,” senior Eric Mejean said.

18-29 year olds only make up about 19% of total registered voters. There are many reasons for this low number compared to other age groups. One reason is the lack of involvement campaigns have with young people. Many feel that the campaigners focus solely on older voters, and tend to forget about the youth vote.

“Campaigns should focus on youth but they’re too caught up in other issues to give them the attention they deserve, ” Mejean said.

The majority of eligible seniors votes diverted from the state’s majority, with most seniors voting for Cuccinelli opposed to McAuliffe. The gubernatorial election was won by Terry McAuliffe with only 54,870 votes separating him and Cuccinelli. Sarvis also received 145,560 votes. McAuliffe will take office on Jan. 11, 2014.