Shadow Ridge Seniors to Rock the Vote


18 year old high school students pledge to vote in the upcoming election.

Anthony Ford, Athletics Editor

“Why should I vote, it’s not like my one vote is going to change the election,” and “I feel like my vote doesn’t matter,” are common misconceptions among young Americans and many people across the United States. Every single vote is valuable, as there have been more than a dozen races decided by a single vote or ending in a tie over the last 20 years, according to Younger people in America are the group that votes the least in this nation, but voting is extremely important and it is one of the biggest parts of an American’s civic duty.

Mr. Matthew Nighswonger, a long time teacher at Shadow Ridge, states, “If we don’t vote then nothing ever changes. We cannot hold our government accountable if we don’t vote. Politicians have a job. To get that job, they must be elected.  Many people want to complain about our government, but they won’t get involved. Voting is the simplest, easiest way to get involved in our system. If we, as Americans, can’t even do that then we shouldn’t complain about lack of representation or about how policies negatively affect us.”

Nowadays, many people don’t like to keep up with politics themselves, they just like to pick and choose narratives to agree with, and then abide by that. They do not take time to sit and consider both sides to a story, think about how that story affects them and their families, and then form an opinion based on what they have learned. There are too many Americans siding with somebody else’s opinion and “hopping on bandwagons” per se. This is a big problem with the younger community, as several do not know much or anything at all when it comes to politics and voting. Many young men and women either side with their parent’s political beliefs or do not form an opinion at all.

Nighswonger went on to say, “Younger people are the group that votes the least in America. That is why their voice is not heard. They are the future of America and they are the ones who will make America a better place. We need you to step it up. We need you to show the country that there are other ways to do things than the way these old politicians are currently running our country. Plus, if you ever want policies that are important to you to be addressed, you have to vote. College affordability, public education, and safer communities won’t ever happen if young people don’t vote.”

Nighswonger was having trouble pushing the importance of voting to his students, as he does each year, but this school year proved to be especially difficult due to restrictions because of COVID-19. This was only another obstacle on the road for Mr. Nighswonger, though, as he and other teachers came up with a fantastic plan to get his students to registered to vote.

“We came up with a plan to do a voter registration drive-thru so that we can abide by all of the safety guidelines and still get everyone registered to vote. Principal Mars and Vice Principal Gilmore have been great in their support and in their outreach to the district to help get this event carried out. To accomplish it in our digital learning environment, we will ask all of the seniors to register to vote online if they can, and then we will ask them to come to the drive-thru event and bring anyone else to the drive-thru event who needs to get registered to vote.”

It is National Voter Registration Month, and Mr. Nighswonger wants to ensure that every 18 year old at Shadow Ridge is registered to vote. If anyone needs to register, come to Shadow’s drive-thru voter registration event on Wednesday, September 16, or Thursday, September 17 between 4 pm and 7 pm.