Story by Rebekah Street, Robin Hendricks, and Anna Maria Gardiner

Students of age prepare to help decide South Carolina’s new governor.

Elections will be held on November 4th, and because many seniors are 18, they are at the age to vote.

“I’d like to (vote in the upcoming election) because I just turned 18, and I feel it’s my civic duty to vote,” senior Ashlin Parnell said. “Just to see what it’s like and how to do it in the future.”

However, some other students are undecided  about whether they want to participate in the governor’s election race.

“Whether I would vote or not would depend on the candidates that show up. If I were to look at 2012,” senior Derek Rodriquez said. “I probably wouldn’t have voted because it would have been picking the lesser of two evils.”

And still, for others, the time has not yet come for them to vote.

“I will not be able to vote this year, but I would if I could, because I think it’s important to become involved in politics at a young age,” senior Jen Quindlen said, “because we are the future of our country.”

Typically, voting is conducted at designated facilities, such as a government building or sometimes a school. Not all students are not aware of this, or of the registration process.

“I actually don’t know much about the process of voting. But I know you need your license and you wait in long lines outside of designated buildings,” Jen said.

Students in select classes will have the opportunity to be able to register to vote in their Government or Economics classrooms. This might enable more students to vote or even take an interest in having a say in who runs our state.

“I do think people should be able to register from classrooms because that would greatly increase voter turnout of the young generations if it was so easy and accessible to become registered,” Jen said. “I would definitely be more inclined to vote if there was an option to register at school!”

Senior Ryann Shealy agrees.

“I think people should be able to register from classrooms because it encourages students to vote,” Ryann said, “and could help them with registration.”

This solution would make the process open to students who would think it too difficult to complete on their own.

“It’s a very easy process,” social studies teacher Ali Hendrick said. “All you have to do is fill out a form, you can either print a form or again now fill it out online and it just gives the basic information about where you live. You do need a social security number so they can verify who you are and then they will send you a voter registration card in the mail.”

However, not every senior is a legal adult just yet. Varying birthdays interfere with the number of students registering, and could leave out underage students to be bored while others complete the process.

“The only complication that would come with registering to vote in a classroom is that it would be hard to have a class of only 18 year olds,” Derek said. “It would be a great thing to do after school because I think it’s great to encourage citizen participation, but I do think that registering to vote in a classroom is a bit unrealistic.”

Whether you register in class or on your own time, voting is a way to express your opinion and help make changes you consider necessary in the community.

“Voting allows your voice to be heard in our government and carried out through public policy. If one votes, they are generally aware of current issues and form opinions,” Jen said. “Voting at a young age is important because one can finally break away from the ideology of their parents and form their own opinions.”