Kids’ Vote

Makenna Kampmann, Reporter

As adults around Wisconsin vote, students throughout the Wausau area were voting for the midterm elections in their social studies classes on election day, Nov. 8, 2022.

The importance of voting is widely discussed in households, classrooms, and on social media. Mr. Brad Seeley, a social studies teacher at the Senior High School, said that teaching kids about voting is very important. “It is your right; it’s your civic duty.”

“I know many students are not 18-years-old, and we still wanted to give them the opportunity to express their voice and give them a chance to vote in this pivotal election,” said Mr. Seeley.

On whether students are well informed about politics, Mr. Seeley did not know how to answer, but he believes that students do to an extent. They can receive information through social media, home, and political ads. 

Junior Kaylee Dunow said that she gets her information about politics mainly from home and social media, specifically Instagram and Facebook. “A lot of people, when they vote, tend to align with their family and what their parents vote for. You’re raised with it, and your parents are influential people.” 

Fellow junior Owen Soehl said that many kids are not educated on where they need to be educated. Students most likely have based their opinions on what their parents have said. Nobody really is educated well enough unless they do outside research, he added.

Dunow said that a lot of students know the main candidates and the situations, but because politics are not talked about at school, we don’t know “everyone and everything.” It’s something that students have to educate themselves on. 

Voting at a young age and in class will help kids in the future.

“It gives students experience in voting,” said Mr. Seeley.  He also mentioned how the teachers will get the results from the vote and will be able to compare and contrast them. This will help start generating conversations about politics and voting, whether that conversation is with a teacher or another student. 

Senior Morgan Hahn said, “It’s less intimidating, voting at a young age. It’s not hard to vote, you just have to show up.” 

However, many adults don’t show up to vote and are hesitant about the voting process. For the midterm, only 2,640,00 votes were cast. That is a 58.2 percent turnout for the state of Wisconsin, according to Nathan Denzin, a reporter from PBS Wisconsin. 

Mr. Seeley said that it takes time to vote or people don’t know enough. If people can find time out of their day to do it they should. “When you have the ability and opportunity to vote, do it. Let your voice be heard. That is how this country is set up, where if you want things to change or you want things to stay the same, your vote will do that. How powerful one vote can be,” he said. 

Not knowing enough about elections or politics is a challenge for both adults and students. Junior, Athena Cihlar said that the very little information about politics that is out there can be biased and inaccurate. Cihlar said to be able to form an opinion on a politician, you really have to look online and see what is out there.  

Mr. Seeley said that by allowing kids to vote in class they are able to let their voices be heard. Students hear a lot about what is going on in politics in their everyday lives and all around them; in turn, the youth as a whole is concerned about what is going on with the election. 

Hahn said even though students cannot vote it is important for students to express their opinion politely. It is something everybody should be aware of and be able to express.

In the high school, students cast 318 votes for Tony Evers, 240 for Tim Michels, and 16 write-in votes for governor. Ron Johnson received 301 votes, while Mandela Barnes received 254, and 11 write-in votes  were cast for the U.S. Senate. These results are consistent with the actual election results.