It’s election season in the United States and millions of Americans are expected to hit the polls on November 6th. For many 18-year-old citizens, this will be the first election they can take part in. On the University of Chicago’s campus, excitement for the elections is high. However, so is confusion among first-years who will exercise their American duties for the first time.
“I was really eager to just rush into it and get started, but I’ll admit I was also pretty nervous because I had never done it before,” claims Anton Whitman, a member of the Class of 2022. “Everyone talks about it and you grow up hearing so much about it, but when you’re in that little box, you kinda realize that even though you’ve done your research, you still aren’t sure what to do!”
Despite social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube publishing voting materials to their massive user bases and offering links to various campaign platforms, first-years at the University were still unsure of what exactly they needed to do on the big day. “Trust me, I’ve seen the videos. I’ve seen them all twice, and I’ve been to all the websites,” said Keenan Alper, a student from Los Angeles. “It’s just harder once you’re doing it in real life.”
Although voting came as a struggle to many American young adults, the same is not true for a number of international students. “You are simply exposed to it earlier in my country, so by the time you’re 18, you’ve done it before and you’re not as confused as you were when you were younger,” explains Mari Torreira from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the voting age is 16.
At the end of the day, first-years appear to be getting the hang of it and look forward to their next opportunity to vote. “You kinda just have to be efficient in there and hope for the best! You make your decisions, stick it in the box, and maybe even seal it with a kiss! I’m really excited for my next time, but it’s too bad that I’ll have to wait another two years for it,” mumbled Jeff Wald, ‘22, before retreating back into his I-House single.