Branson seniors complete ballots during midterms


Shun Graves

Will Ashley, right, counts as one of the Branson seniors who filled out a ballot in November. Some seniors got their first chance to vote during the midterm election.

By Sadie Winter, Samara Lehman, and Ashley Vela

For many Branson seniors, November marked their first time being a part of the electoral process. 

As new voters, they had a chance to take on the responsibility of being politically active and making a difference in the wider community. 

“I think it’s one of those defining moments when you become an adult and you get to participate in democracy,” said Kate Singer, a senior who voted in the November midterms.

Singer recounted the preparation she did for the election. She said that for issues she was interested in, she did extra research online in order to better understand the topic. 

“I didn’t want to make a decision that I wasn’t informed on,” Singer said. 

Another senior, Kabir McNeely, pointed out that even if students aren’t 18 yet, there are ways to prepare for voting. Students can pre-register to vote as early as age 16. McNeely hasn’t voted yet, but he is pre-registered.

“A lot of people don’t know that even though you have to be 18 to vote, you can pre-register as a minor, and that way, when you turn 18, you’re all set,” McNeely said.

In addition to registering to vote, McNeely suggested that Branson students begin to think about the stances they’ll take on specific issues.

I didn’t want to make a decision that I wasn’t informed on.

— Kate Singer

“Look into political parties and what your alignment is going to be on that front,” McNeely said. “Look into different issues and develop your convictions because that makes it much easier when you turn 18.”

Ashton Richards, a Branson history teacher, has also been encouraging students like McNeely to pre-register to vote. Voting is an obligation, he said.

“I see voting as almost a kind of bare minimum of civic responsibility, and I don’t care what party you vote for,” Richards said.

Richards added that this also means consistently voting in each election, whether it be a presidential election or midterms.  

“Voting irresponsibly means not voting in every election,” he said. “That you’re only voting every four years because it’s a presidential election, and that you’re not fully participating in the electoral process.”

Richards’ hope is that Branson students pre-register to vote as soon as they can, and take the initiative as legal adults to participate in democracy. 

“Voting is one of the primary ways in which we can use our voices as citizens in order to create change on a policy level, on a systemic level,” McNeely said.