Every Vote Counts


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Voting is a way for American citizens to ensure their voice is heard on a local and national level.

The long drawn out lines, the many many yard signs, and numerous commercials and ads sporting red, white and blue. It’s voting season. 2020 is the year of change, both good and bad, but one thing that has not changed is the occurrence of the primaries. After many days of early voting opportunities, voting locations on November third will be flooded with Americans that will decide the future of this country. Lake Ridge houses American citizens with all sorts of backgrounds, all of whom are finding new ways to contribute.

For instance, there are experienced voters like, Dondinea Scretchings, history teacher. Scretchings knew that this election day would be busy and crowded, which is not optimal for COVID safety, so she decided to early vote. Even though she exercised her right to vote before voting day, she still ran into a crowd.

“November third is going to be crazy. I have to vote in a little shack-like place in Johnson county; it’s small and kind of cramped. There wasn’t a line when I got there, but as soon as I sat down to fill in my ballot, a lot of people showed up,” said Scretchings.

This year, the process to vote did change a bit for Scretchings. On a normal voting day, she would just have to show her ID and be placed at a ballot. This year, the election process has added a few extra steps for her to complete that were not done in previous years.

“Because of where I live, I had to have three different ballots. They had to write my name down three different times, and I had to sign my name three different times. There was one for the general election, one for the city of Mansfield, and another one for the school board. That part was different,” stated Scretchings.

No matter how many steps they add or how inconvenient it may seem for Scretchings to vote, she will always manage. She sees an importance in voting no matter what, not just for herself, but for the people that came before her and those that will come after.

“I had great grandparents that were never able to vote, so when I vote, I kind of feel like I’m doing it for them. Every time I go to vote, there seems to be an issue. They change my polling place, or they can’t find my name on the registry, or something like that, but I always find a way to vote. People died so I could vote, so I’m always going to find somebody to vote for.” states Scretchings.

Scretchings also believes that voting is not just important for her, but also for those who may be voting for the first time, or who are getting ready to become of age. The new adults, in Scretchings’ opinion, don’t yet understand the importance of their voices, and she stresses just how much is decided by who you vote for early on.

“When you’re young, you just don’t really care. When you stop and think about it, these people are going to make decisions about your life, especially when you’re young. Whether or not we go to war, what taxes you pay, who’s going to take care of you when you’re old; that’s all getting decided now, whether you know it or not,” says Scretchings.

First time voters at Lake Ridge have been given stickers, driven past billboards, and heard teachers encourage them to use this right to their advantage. Angelique Mauldin, senior, learned from her parents on the importance of voting, and how you should take advantage of your rights. Her personal hopes for this year’s election is to elect President Trump out of office.

“I don’t want our current president to be in office anymore. It’s your constitutional right to vote, so why wouldn’t you exercise it. It’s also a part of your voice so why wouldn’t you take advantage to be heard in your own country,” states Mauldin.

Mauldin’s only qualm about voting this time of year is the risk of getting sick. The long lines and cramped spacing make it a bit more dangerous with a worldwide virus still at large.

“I’m nervous, but only because I don’t want to catch a virus,” said Mauldin.

There are some seniors at Lake Ridge, however, that do not make the age cut. That doesn’t mean that these students can not lend a hand to the smooth running of election day, though. Sarah Cole, senior, is passionate about politics and exercising the right to vote. She decided to contribute by volunteering to work the election polls as an election clerk. This is a big help to the community, since many people wouldn’t or couldn’t sign up for their own safety.

“I heard about being an election clerk back in August since, at the time, they had a huge shortage. Most people who sign up to be election clerks are a lot older individuals, since they tend to have more time on their hands, but because of COVID, the number of people who signed up was a lot lower,” stated Cole.

Cole knows that when the time comes, she will insist on voting. The importance that Cole places on voting is huge, and she feels that every vote is important. The past has shown that, even in primaries, just a couple hundred people’s opinions can kick start a new election.

“Voting is absolutely, completely, and utterly crucial for every American citizen to partake in. I mean look at the election in 2000. Bush barely won by a couple hundred votes. Every single vote matters, and if you are able to, it is our duty to vote. The results will change the course of history,” says Cole.

No matter how old or young you are, how experienced or inexperienced, there are ways to make a difference in this election. Helping the community through voting or volunteering are two accessible ways to involve yourself in the preliminary election and in the community as a whole. November third will be a day off for students at Lake Ridge, allowing them all to have the opportunity to vote.