New Voters

New Voters

Menaka Garapaty, Editor-in-Chief

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Voter turnout for the Kansas 2022 Primary Election dramatically increased since the 2018 midterms, and it’s largely due to the critical amendment that was proposed on the ballot. This attracted a number of young adults to the polls, leading to a spike in overall voting presence to 46.6% turnout. This level of engagement is double the amount of the 2012 and 2014 primaries. 

Some of the young voters who contributed to this high percentage are seniors here at North. For the few that could vote, August primary was their first time at the polls, passionate to make a political difference with their recently-attained right. However, most students were not able to vote, but that didn’t stop them from contributing to the high turnout in other ways. As engagement from high school students increases, another spike in young voter turnout is highly probable for the approaching November Midterms. 

Senior Zoe Willoughby-Neal was one of the many new voters that took to the polls for the first time in August. She believed it was her duty to vote and be a voice for her peers, especially since this election directly affected her and her friends, many of whom could not vote. 

“Voting for the first time was very important because I got to have a say in something that is meaningful to my future,” Willoughby-Neal said. 

She plans to exercise her right again in November and urges other young adults to do the same. But for the many students who are unable to vote, there are other ways to help with voter turnout, and senior Alex Teasley has done their fair share to stay involved. 

“I’ve canvassed, called voters, cut turf, and organized volunteers,” Teasley said. “I’ve done pretty much any of the menial work at some point.” 

Teasley urges others, both voters and nonvoters, to start with the little things, from writing postcards to going door-to-door, if they wish to contribute to this wave of political involvement. 

“Find a candidate you like and reach out,” Teasley recommended. “I don’t know of a single campaign in the area that isn’t itching for volunteers.”

volved since the age of 12, has witnessed first-hand this massive spike in young voter turnout. They believe it is due to the immediate impacts of lawmakers’ and the government’s actions, as well as the rare chance on August 2nd to vote directly on an issue that would impact them. 

“Roe v. Wade being overturned has a direct impact on young people who are entering the stage of their lives where reproduction, and thus reproductive rights, have to be considered,” Teasley explained. “It is also easy for young people to see things that impact them with other established rights being called into question.” 

Many more seniors at North will be of age to vote for the November midterms. Because of the increase in activism leading up to the August midterms, it is likely to see this involvement return in the coming months. Teasley will be voting in November and urges the many first-time voters at school to exercise their democratic duty. They believe that Kansas is among the states most poised to alter the delicate 50/50 split in the Senate. 

“Regardless of how you vote, recognize that your vote could have national impacts,” Teasley said. “Even if you don’t care about national politics, the state candidates are incredibly important and multiple Kansas Supreme Court justices are on the ballot. All of these people, for better or for worse, impact you.”