Election Day takes on added meaning for first-time voters


Maya Ortiz

Campaign signs still sit outside the Kingwood Community Center, where Kingwood residents were able to submit early ballots.

Yusra Hasan, Staff Writer

As students take the school day off on Tuesday, those that are eligible and registered will be at the polls to cast their ballot in the midterm elections for the first time.

“It is extremely important for 18 year olds to vote,” AP Government teacher Jess White said. “I don’t think they realize that they have the power to instigate change.” 

Seniors Matti McDaniel and Hudson Gary, who turned 18 just a few weeks ago, have followed the races closely through local news and kept up with elections to help them in making their decisions. 

“Right now, I have just followed the election at a local level,” McDaniel said. “I’ve formulated my opinions based on what I see and will be voting for who I believe is the best candidate.” 

Voters are expected to turn out in higher numbers because of the gubernatorial race between Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke, as well as the county judge race between Lina Hidalgo and Alexandra del Moral Mealer. Students have gone through various forms of research on candidates through social media platforms, political websites, as well as by talking with friends and family members. 

“I’ve educated myself by doing my research and talking to people who know more about it,” Gary said. “Especially being in AP Government with Coach (Jess) White this year has helped me out.” 

White said he enjoys teaching a subject where connections between current events and history can be made and encourages students to be politically active. He hopes to influence his seniors by providing them with the right information that will help them understand how important an educated vote is. 

“I don’t care who they vote for as long as they know why they are making that decision,” White said. “They need to see both sides of an issue to understand and participate in the process and be part of the solution to make our society better.” 

Gary decided to participate in early voting with his family.

“I would advise people to do their research and keep an open mind while they vote,” Gary said.

As more students register to vote, they are encouraged to take part in making a change in something bigger that can impact everyone around them. McDaniel remains excited to see what the future holds and hopes for a big turnout from young voters this year.

“We have just as much influence as any other adult,” McDaniel said. “Vote for the candidate that you feel is best.”