During the week of September 19th, multiple clubs including Amnesty International, Model UN, HEAL, collaborated on a Voter Registration booth for anyone over 16 at Hackley. The booth was a hit, with students being spotted all day wearing stickers and buttons boasting “I Registered to Vote!” These tokens brightly represent a new generation of voters, some already old enough to vote in the next November elections.

High school voter registration programs have started to pop up much more at high schools around the country, as a means to address the low voter turnout for midterm and non-presidential year elections. In the 2020 election, the age group of 18-24-year-olds at the polls was the lowest of all age groups, at 51.4%. As opposed to this, the highest age group, 65-74 years old, was 76.0%. The idea is that if the hassle is taken out of registering to vote, students and young people will be much more likely to actually get to the polls. Registering takes five minutes, and students, especially those at Hackley, leave with a sense of democracy and accomplishment.

According to Project Vote, U.S. Citizens aged 18 to 24 consistently have a 10-20% lower voter turnout than the general population. One big reason for this is the concept of opportunity cost. Essentially, this means that for many young adults, the cost of going to the polls and voting is lower than what it means to them. One vote out of millions does not seem like a lot, and in all honesty, it isn’t. However, if everyone had this mindset, no one would vote. In order to take advantage of the right to vote, and not ignore the millions of people around the globe who do not have the right to vote, the editorial board strongly advises that all young people should take the time out of their day to exercise their rights.

At Hackley, many students from various clubs had to go through a national training course in order to be properly trained. This started three years ago when Noah Tirshwell ‘22 decided to bring together HEAL, SDA, Junior State of America, BSU, and Model UN. These clubs co-sponsored the voter registration drive, as they all agreed with the message that “voter registration is a sign of a healthy democracy,” according to senior Mason Napach.

Mason in particular joined the initiative when he and Noah Nager, fellow senior and co-member of JSA, decided to get trained, as is nationally mandated. They and multiple other people from community service-oriented organizations at Hackley worked together to get 75 new voters registered in New York over the past few years. They attempted to get as many people as possible, and according to Mason, they were happy with the number of people signed up.

“Voting is the way that we can make the change we want to see. Voting allows you to pick the people who represent your views. So much of the reason that the people in power pass policies that are detrimental to most Americans is that since turnout is so low, the leaders don’t represent the people,” Mason said.

Lulu Bednar, a junior and leader on HEAL, said, “I think that people don’t know the impact they have when it comes to voting. One vote can have such a large impact, especially in local and smaller elections. Those representatives are the people who are passing the laws that will directly affect you so you need to go out and vote.” The editorial board of the Dial strongly supports and advises all young people at Hackley and outside to register to vote and to follow through and get to the polls. Although a small action, the result of voting is insurmountable.