Seniors have a say

Jones seniors head to the polls for their first time


As the 2022 midterm elections loom, first-time student voters nervously anticipate going to the polls during a decisive election year. 

“I was very scared, and I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Cosette Zielinski ‘23, who already cast her ballot. “I actually had my dad come with me, so we went through the process together.” 

Ronin Hulett ‘23, on the other hand, is more concerned about making sure he picks the right candidates to vote for. 

“It’s a little overwhelming for me. I was looking at the different candidates recently and there’s a lot of people on the ballot,” said Hulett. “There’s a lot of people saying they are going to do a lot of different stuff. It’s hard to gauge what I should be doing.” 

Other first-time voters are more eager about the whole process. 

“I am pretty excited about voting for the first time,” said Warren Press ‘23. “My mom and dad don’t vote, so I am the only one in my family who is going to be voting. I feel like if I didn’t vote, I’d be missing out.”

Press did not always feel so keen to vote, citing a later realization and sense of duty as what propels him to get out to the polls. 

“I remember at the start of high school, I was kind of against voting at 18. But, I’ve thought about how I can change things as a voter and realized that my vote matters,” said Press. “It is also my duty to vote.” 

Zielinski echoes Press’ comments about the importance of heading to the polls. 

“I’ve always been very passionate about politics,” said Zielinski. “I want to make sure that I’m electing people that represent my voice… [my vote] matters so much because I’m growing up in a world based on the people I elect.” 

As students form their own decisions and thoughts about going out to vote, the current polarized state of American politics also shapes how they are approaching the midterms. 

“Voting in such a polarized political environment actually made me feel like I was actually voting for an important cause and voting for stuff that could influence the country,” said Zielinski. 

Press also feels like his vote has more power. 

“I feel like because people are so polarized now, my vote has a lot more meaning and a lot more weight,” said Press. 

Polarization is also one of the factors Hulett is taking into consideration when he selects which candidates to vote for.  

“I want to vote for someone who isn’t too far one way or another,” said Hulett. “An issue I am considering is the economy. A trigger point for me is abortion. These issues definitely influence my decision.”

As voters sift through contenders for public office positions, they are also doing research to ensure they know who to vote for. 

“Once I signed up to vote, I’ve started to do more research so I’m more politically knowledgeable,” said Press. “I’m going to multiple news sources to hear multiple perspectives, and ultimately take my own stance on what’s going on.” 

Zielinski took a different approach to preparing to vote.

“I went to vote completely based on the party I believed in, but the thing I did a lot of research on was the judges because there are so many,” said Zielinski. 

Legwork aside, many are looking forward to taking part in the voting process for the first time. 

“I’m interested because I don’t even really know what it looks like to vote. I’m curious,” said Hulett. 

While students expressed a level of nerves and concerns alongside a strong sense of curiosity and duty, they each had a common message about getting out to vote. 

“If you are able to get out and vote, [it’s] a great way to show your support for the country you’re living in,” said Zielinski.