18-Year-Olds Voting for the 1st Time: It’s Their Time to Make Change this Election
These teenagers will not only affect the outcome of this election, but may change the countries future"
FARGO, N.D. — It may be hard to believe but every vote does count and some young voters are starting to realize that.
KVRR’s Jessie Cohen gives us an inside look at how the younger generation makes their decisions about voting in our lead story.
“I will talk about the tough issues. I don’t pretend that they are going to solve themselves if we don’t do something,” said Kevin Cramer, running for North Dakota’s U.S. Senate seat.
“I bring North Dakota commonsense and and compromise,” said Heidi Heitkamp, running for North Dakota’s U.S. Senate seat.
We’ve been talking about Kevin Cramer and Heidi Heitkamp for months. The two candidates running for one of the biggest races in decades. But I want to introduce you to some other people. Much younger with less experience, but who want to be a part of change. These teenagers will not only affect the outcome of this election, but may change the countries future.
Since they’ve been born, the clock has been ticking.
“I’m 18 and that’s the legal age to vote,” said Abednego Thomas, a first time voter.
And now, their time has come.
“It makes me really excited,” said Prince Baynee, a first time voter.
Their chance is just two days away.
“It kind of makes you like a citizen full fledged,” said Kiley Schroeder, a first time voter.
“We are going to be determining the future leaders of our generation,” said Parker Faris, a first time voter.
“It means a lot to be able to be heard,” Thomas said.
But some wonder…is an 18-year-old…old enough…and aware enough?
“I don’t really know what’s all happening in the election I know it’s like for senators but I don’t really know what else is going on in it so I feel like more people should just be like educated on what’s all happening and how it affects everyone,” Schroeder said.
“I don’t really know my own opinion I’m only 18. I don’t know what it’s like to have a salary or about taxes and agriculture, all that stuff, I don’t know what it’s like to have that kind of opinion,” said Kallie Creutz, a first time voter.
Time can be a funny thing…one minute an issue can mean nothing to you,and the next it could mean everything.
“So many school shootings have been happening. Something like needs to be done to help stop that,” Schroeder said.
“It’s really been a big part of what this generation has become and it’s kind of scary because you never know what could happen here too,” said Rachel Blasczyk, a first time voter.
And it’s not just school shootings.
“The me too movement because that gives men and women the chance to speak out against their experiences and things that have happened to them,” Creutz said.
“I saw an ad for Heidi heitkamp that talked about sex trafficking. Sex trafficking. That really makes me mad. It was really a surprise to me because I didn’t think that happens in North Dakota. just want to make a change so that I can help those people out,” Banyee said.
Do you know anything about the candidates for the senate election coming up?
“Uhm I don’t, no, but my dad’s really into the politics so he tries to talk to me,” Thomas said.
“It’s basically talking to their parents because everything their parents say they say, they don’t form their own opinions,” Banyee said.
And because your parents identify as republicans do you identify as a republican?
“Yes,” said Blasczyk.
Right now, do you identify as a democrat or a republican?
“I don’t identify as anything. My mom talks to me about her views and stuff I think it makes sense but like I just want to know more information I just don’t want to jump the gun on stuff,” Banyee said.
Only 55% of millennials are expected to vote and many who aren’t voting say they just don’t understand how their one vote can make a difference but when each of them tells their friend, who has a conversation with another friend, who then tries to convince the rest of their friends, that’s when real change can happen.”
“I have one friend that really wants me to vote and it was never really brought to my attention until she brought it up and then I kind of realized how important it is from her,” Creutz said.
“Our youth, we don’t really bring up politics kind of just like, it’s whatever but,” Thomas said.
Do you think there should be more conversations about politics?
“I think so. I think kids need to get more involved in politics because a lot of kids are lost,” Thomas responded.
“They talk about issues they are dealing with..why don’t you go vote? It’s your voice, people need to hear it might as well just do something about it instead of sitting here and complaining about it for the next 20 years,” Banyee said.
A life lesson…that the actions taken-or not taken-today…can have a lasting effect for years to come.
The choice is theirs.
Early voting is over in North Dakota.
The polls open at 7 am on Tuesday and close at 8 pm.