Cleveland Students Prepare to Vote
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Cleveland is known district wide as an incredibly liberal school, both in practice, and especially in the upcoming presidential election. Across the nation, there are around 3.8 million 18-year-old U.S. citizens. Of those millions, only 49 percent are registered to vote, which is 22 percent points below our national general voting population. However, at Cleveland, those who can vote, are registered and excitedly waiting to cast their ballot and become a part of history.
While Hillary Clinton is the obvious winning candidate among Cleveland voters, some still yearn for Bernie Sanders. Conor Bergin, a senior and eligible voter said, “I’m glad I’m on the side that everyone else is. In Cleveland, voting for Trump is like a death sentence.”
Some students veer towards the Bernie or Bust ideology, in which they refuse to vote at all because students consider both Clinton and Trump as terrible potential presidents in comparison to Sanders. On this, Tanner Montagriff-Peck, another eligible voter said, “I would rather have Bernie, but I’m not ‘settling’ for Clinton. I still think she’s a great candidate that I’m happy to cast my vote for.”
In the wild ride that is our election, politics have the tendency to be blurred within the mess of accusations and dramatics. Montagriff-Peck explained, “For me, the person that I am, and the beliefs that I have, it’s not been too crazy. I’ve always known where I’m going to vote, it is just who fills that box.”
However, Bergin observed, “It’s kind of cool that the first election I’m voting in is the craziest one ever. In 20 years, we will look back and think how bizarre this whole election experience has been.”
Being able to vote helps students take a stand against the biased perspectives the conservative party holds against the LGBTQ+ community, one that is extremely prevalent and respected within Cleveland. Roisin Prestopino, a voting senior explained, “He (Trump) never fails to marginalize women, immigrants, people of color, people of other religions, anyone who is not heterosexual, and anyone who isn’t exactly who he thinks they should be.”
With the threat of Trump’s skewed policies, it’s essential for the younger generation to vote and promote the ideals that we should instill in our society. Eloise Steere, a senior, unfortunately unqualified to vote, said, “I wish people would stop jumping on bandwagons pertaining to who they’re voting for without actually reading the news and learning policies.”
Besides voting for the big ticket candidate, Cleveland students have a say in all the small ballot measures that will have an affect on our educational systems and future professional lives. For example, Measure 97, a highly-debated and scrutinized statute, could provide for our schools through increased budgets.
Students refusing to vote due to Sanders not making it past the primaries has become controversial among ineligible Cleveland voters. Prestopino said, “I think it’s so important that people get out and vote, and I don’t mean just vote for Hillary. There are more options, but don’t just throw up your hands and say there’s no point or the options are all bad. Think about the actual possibility of who could win if you don’t do anything.”
If this extends to votes on ballot measures, votes will be lost that could help schools, and will fail to be ratified. All the young voters at Cleveland are important. By casting their ballots, the United States will hopefully continue working toward a better, more inclusive nation, and through new ballot measures help our schools district and community funding.