When a person turns 18 they gain many rights and responsibilities.  One of these rights is the right to vote.  Voting allows you to have a say in what goes on in the government.  Voting also allows you to state your opinion.

Voting for the first time give people an experience that they will never forget.

“I first voted in 1976,” said teacher Paul Rykken.  Rykken teaches political science and has been voting since he was eligible at the age 18.

People vote for many different reasons.  “I vote to have a say and an input in the leaders that will be running this country,” said Rykken.  Rykken also feels that it is his obligation to vote and it’s an easy way for him to participate in this country.

Voting is the key part to decide who would be the next president and other elected officials.  However, a lot of people overlook this and do not see the importance in voting.  “Voting is a basic way a citizen can participate and have a say in this country,” said Rykken.  Rykken wants more people to see the importance of voting.

Rykken encourages more people especially students to vote.  “Research shows that people who vote earlier in their life will continue to vote, and will end up becoming lifelong voters,” said Rykken.

Participating in voting not only gives you a great experience with politics.  It can make you express many different feelings good or bad.

“Depending on the election, I can be very fired up to vote, because either I really like the candidate, or because I really dislike the candidate,” said Rykken.

This year there were about 10 million dollars on ads to push voter turnout.  The country wants everyone to experience voting and wants everyone to participate.  “This is politics at its raw edge–the economy and negative ads are pushing more people to vote,” said Rykken.

Rykken urged students at the high school to vote this year to give them that great learning experience.

“My experience was good, but it was a little bit confusing at first but people at the polls definitely helped,” said senior Matt Guenther.  Rykken also is very supportive to push lowering the voting age to 16. He says this will help because they learn about politics and become educated on the topic during an election.

By gaining new voters in this election, the country hopes to have the same ones vote again in the next election.

“Yes, I will vote again, because I feel that I have a responsibility to vote,”  said Guenther.

Making your decision for whom to vote for can be very difficult.  People can be influenced by ads and promises made by either candidate.

“I based my decision on their promises to the people and on their political views,” said senior Shawn Pergande.

Voting is a big opportunity in ones life, and provides a chance to be involved with the country and community.  Voter participation has been going up and people have started to realize the true reason for voting and how it can affect our country.

by  Ben Sherman