Seniors Vote for the First Time in 2020 Election


Courtesy of Liesl Klages

Liesl Klages (12) pictured here with her mail in ballot for the 2020 election.

Hayden MacDonald, Photojournalist

Many seniors voted for the first time amidst one of the most chaotic and unique elections in modern history. In history class, students read about significant events that alter and shape history, but this year, several students were able to personally experience it. Also, with the continuing spread of COVID-19 affecting the nation, voters had to take extra precautions when voting in person this year or choosing to vote by mail. 

Although many students are not of age to vote, Yorba Linda High School has several political organizations such as Political and Social Activism Club, Democrat Club, and Turning Point USA. These clubs still provide civil discourse for students to voice and share their opinions in a safe and respectful environment. For those who are eighteen, they were able to vote in the 2020 election and take part in their constitutional right to vote. 

In California, citizens were able to vote in person starting Friday, October 30, and until election day November 3. Some even chose to vote in person on Halloween with several citizens wearing Halloween costumes. I myself chose to vote in person on Halloween. 

My experience voting this year was very nerve-wracking as I had no idea what to expect. In school, I am the Head of Voter Registration for the Political and Social Activism Club. I aided in promoting students and citizens around the community to register to vote in order to voice their opinions. I pre-registered months in advance of election day in order to be fully prepared. I also researched all the propositions thoroughly in order to understand what measures I was voting for. 

On Halloween, I traveled to my nearest voting center after work wearing my Halloween costume. Although I was nervous to vote, I was also nervous that there would be large crowds and to vote in a public election amidst this global pandemic. Fortunately, on arrival, I was able to walk right in as there was no line or crowds to the voting location. Inside there were only three other citizens voting with around a dozen attendants helping with the voting process.

At the check-in table, I verified my identity and signed my signature confirming that I myself was voting. Once I checked in and received my ballot, I stood at one of the secure voting booths to cast my vote. It was extremely surreal to be voting in this election and realizing that I am becoming a full-grown adult. 

Next, I asked one of the attendants what to do with my ballot and he showed me where to scan it into the machine. He told me how proud he was to be a poll worker and to see young people like me taking part in their civic duty. Lastly, I got the coveted “I Voted” sticker, and I still keep it on my desk to remember this momentous occasion. 

Overall, I felt very safe voting with the countless safety measures they had in place. I received a new pen to cast my ballot and they had hand sanitizer stations around the voting facility. Also, the voting booths were spread far apart in order to maximize social distancing. With no line and less than half a dozen people voting at one time, the entire experience took less than fifteen minutes. 

Liesl Klages (12) also voted for the first time in this election. She recounted how she had “gone with [her] parents to vote growing up” stating, “elections are like Super Bowls” in her family. She “was thrilled to finally cast her own ballot” in order to publicly voice her opinions and “partake in such a significant event.” 

With the hectic political climate taking over the nation, it is important to remind students and young voters how important their voice matters over elections and politics. Although they are young, they must remember that the actions and choices today dictate what the world will look like tomorrow.