Blaine eighth graders talk voting


Eighth grade students from Blaine Middle School pose proudly after putting pen to paper last week on letters expounding on the importance of voting. Just days before the November 8 general election, class instructors Sarah Fisher and Coby Hoffman led the project in the bi-weekly Academy Class, which is an enrichment course focusing on reading and social studies. A total of 17 letters were sent to The Northern Light last week and can be read below. Leading up to the project, students were tasked with reading five to six articles about the election and were asked to watch a short video. After all, Fisher said, they’ll be voting in the next presidential election.


Dear editor,

Do you think voting matters? I think it matters very much. Since you are not just voting for the President, it’s super easy, and it is also honoring the past.

If you think you are just voting for a President this election think again. There are so many more things you are voting for like, The House of Representatives, and Congress among other things. In this election alone there are 19 House seats that are up for grabs, according to the Cook Political report. So even if you don’t like the Presidential candidates the House, and the Senate are still affected by your vote. So when you are thinking about who to vote for, remember that you are not only voting for the President.

Another reason you should vote is because it’s not that hard. A lot of people say that “it’s too hard to go to the polls,” but really it’s not that hard. When America was born you had to be able to read, own land, male, 21 or older, white, and be able to pay the poll tax to vote. Now you only have to be 18 or older, and a U.S. citizen. Also in some States you can even mail in your vote. Even though it’s super easy the amount of voters has gone down over the years. So during this election make sure you go out, and bring those voter numbers up, because it’s not that hard.

Voting is also not just a privilege, it’s a tribute. In the United States people have died for the right to vote.  In 1776 there was the Revolutionary War, in the 1860’s there was the civil war, in the 1920’s there was the Women’s Suffrage, and in the 1960’s there was the Civil Rights movement. People have fought, struggled, and died to vote. So when you vote it’s a way of saying thank you. So remember during the election that people worked hard for your right to vote.

When election time rolls around make sure to remember that you’re not just voting for the President, it’s not that hard to vote, and a lot of people suffered for the right to vote. So go out there, and express your opinion in the 2016 election.


William McKinney

Dear editor,

This year’s 2016 election is generally an incredibly controversial time.

Our two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; have both seen their side of favoring as well as slander. But just because others disagree with who you might favor, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote.

Personally, I think voting is one of the most honorable privileges given to any U.S Citizen. Although I’m personally not of a high enough age to vote, I still think that the large number of citizens that can vote should definitely take advantage of being over 18. As well as an American Citizen.

A big excuse people use to not vote is that only one person not voting doesn’t change anything, this is true in a sense. But you also have to consider how many others didn’t vote, if 1million others didn’t vote this year, and used the same excuse, then it makes a jurassic difference.

In conclusion, if you have the privilege to vote, you should. There are several different ways to vote which gives you no excuse not to.


Christian Rice
Dear editor,

Does voting really matter and should you vote? Yes, you should vote and it affects you. Every vote matters in all the elections not just the presidential election.

First of all, voting affects you and everyone around you. If you do not vote you do not get to help make decisions that affect you. Other people decide for you when you do not vote. Even if you do not vote for a President you can still vote for the Senate, the Congress, and the House of Representatives, which greatly affect what the President can do when in office. Do not forget about your local elections, in these elections your vote matters greatly. Voting affects you and you can help make the decisions that greatly affect your life.

You have the right to vote for what happens in your Country, State, County, and Town.

Do not give up that right that people have been fighting for since this Country started. Other people in other countries are still fighting for equal voting rights and we already have the right and people are still not voting because they do not care. Without your vote our Democracy is not accurate to what its people think. People have fought long and hard, do not give up your vote.

Do not say it is too hard to vote in Washington, it is made easy for you. You do not even have to leave your house. Registration is online. Your ballet is shipped right to your house. You even get pamphlet to help you know about who you are voting for. There is no excuse to not vote because it is too difficult.

Voting really does matter. Without your vote, our democracy does not show what all the people want.


Justin Saunders

Dear editor,

Only 53.6% of Americans out of 129.1million Americans in the Unites States of America voted in the 2012 presidential election. I believe that this news is very sad. Only about half of Americans that could vote, did vote. People that can vote should vote because voting is important. I think more people should vote because voting isn’t just about the president, it’s about senators, laws, money, mayors, and other things and people. Washington State gives plenty of tools for elections and our ancestors made voting easier for more Americans.

Lots of people think about the president when they hear voting, but that’s not the only thing Americans can vote for. There are other things like schools, money, mayors, laws, senators, amusement items, and plenty of other things people vote upon. When people don’t vote, their giving their vote to other voters who do vote. Our class had an example of this. Students who do want to vote stand by the board and students who don’t stay seated. About 40% of the class stayed seated and about 10 students got up. We voted on presidents and about 6 out of 10 students went with one president and 4 went with the other. The students who stayed seated gave their vote to the students, or, if they voted, they could have beaten the 6 other students and got the other president.

Many people don’t vote or they don’t have transportation, don’t know what they’re voting for, or don’t want to declare a party affiliation. Washington State has made it so people can vote by mail or online. They give voters’ pamphlets so you know the choices. Also, Washington State uses a top two primary system rather that a party nominating system. Finally, there is no party affiliation so Americans can choose who they want.

Did you know how voting turned from wealthy, powerful, white men could only vote to all Americans 18 and older can vote? It took many people with a cause to make that happen. At first, you had to be male, be 21or over, have white skin, own land, be literate, and pay poll taxes. When the 15th amendment came, it eliminated racial barriers to voting, but many things still blocked the way to voting. In 1920, women are able to vote and run for office. In 1964, all men and women age 21 and older could vote, and, no more poll taxes. Eighteen year olds thought it wasn’t fair they could be drafted but not vote so in 1971, ages 18 and up could vote. In 1975, they banned literacy tests and added Section 203 (other languages allowed section). Then, 9 years later, they made polling places accessible to the people with disabilities. Today, about 4 million people are registered to vote, but a lot of those people don’t vote.

As you can see, voting is very important.  We might be “brushing voting off our shoulders” but this letter says that we shouldn’t, that we should use the tools our ancestors gave us. Thank you editors and readers of the newspaper.

Clarissa Renskers

Dear editor,

I think voting matters. Especially for reasons like it’s not just the President that gets voted for and that we can actually vote. We have a lot of great reasons and opportunity to vote. So I think we should vote if we can.

Voting is for much more than just the President. It’s also for things like Representatives, Congress, and Senate. Voting for this stuff can change how we live and how our nation lives. It may change a lot of things for the better. Even though we might not get our favorite candidate, we can still affect the things they can do by getting a good Congress and that stuff.

We have the right to vote for all of this stuff. Unlike other places and countries, we can vote. Places are still fighting for the right to vote and for their freedom. So why not vote if we have the chance? We have the opportunity to vote and we should take advantage of this. We’re lucky to get a chance to. So we should.

Lots of people think and believe that their votes don’t actually matter. They think that one vote can’t affect anything and that it won’t change anything. Although the margin of victory can be important. The amount that the candidates win by can affect the amount of power they have over us. As assumed the higher percentage of votes over the others can give them more power. The lower percentage of votes over the others gives you less. So all votes matter.

Not all people vote. I believe they should. Most should. Not only to change our nation for the good, but to take part and not waste this amazing opportunity. Thank you for reading this.

Joshua Lopez

Dear editor,

Out of 126,140,000 people registered to vote for a president only 57.5% actually voted in 2012. We had an all time high for young voters. We are a strong country that is willing to do what it takes to be even better we as a whole can change the world, yes we have the power use it wisely.

I have been researching and according to WWW.VOTE.WA.GOV, Washington state has put movements into motion to help make the voting process easier. For example, they’ve made it so you can register to vote online, this makes voting easier because you don’t have to drive and make time to do it. They have also used tax money to put a pamphlet and the ballot in the mail so you don’t have to go all the way to the poles and waist your precious time, they include a pamphlet so you get information and never guess about the candidate (because you should never guess). Most importantly we have the opportunity to vote whichever party and whomever we choose.

Another really good reason to vote, if you don’t like the President you can limit his/her power by voting in the opposite party into Congress, Senate, and House of Representatives. Daniel Marans and Kim Bellware from Huffington Post wrote a piece in titled 7 reasons you should vote in this year’s elections… “The power of the President depends on if his/her party controls the House of Representatives or Congress.” This means if you don’t agree with the person in charge meaning the President. Also if you don’t wish to have either party representatives then you can either go for the one you least hate.

My final reasoning for why people should vote is because we’ve fought so hard to earn the right. In a document called History of Voting in America, it says  that we’ve  gone from only high powered white men with land to having just white men. We then moved on to all citizens, there’s been a number of acts passed to make voting equal and in my opinion that’s very important. To top all this off we have had equal voting for people of color and different races, we’ve made it so women  have the right to vote. We have created a new country voting we need to realize how important that is.

This letter was meant to open the eyes of the younger generation for them to see how much they can change the world. This is a very big decision and they need to learn to take charge and do this for them and all those to come later. Always strive to make the right choice.

Belen Guzman

Dear editor,

Over the years voting has changed in many different ways. Especially even if you could vote! Whether it was depending on if you were old enough, what the color of your skin was, if you had land and money, if you could read, or even what your sex was. And the reason these things changed is because people have voted, so in my opinion, yes, I think voting matters.

One of the top reasons why I think you should vote, is because here, in the U.S.A. we have the right to vote. What I mean by this is, in other countries, they’re still fighting for their right to vote, or waiting in line all day in the blazing heat to vote! But let’s not forget that we’ve fought, really fought for voting, so we need to take this chance. And what are we fighting right now? Laziness. Especially here in Washington State, we’ve spent loads of money, and made it very easy to vote. And if you’re not registered you can do it online!

Next, this one is a pretty simple reason, so picture you’re watching television, and that candidate you absolutely despise shows up as winning by 2%. What are you gonna do? Sit around and watch them become President? Or are you gonna go out there, and vote for who you want! I think voting is one of the best to get up, and show what you support, and what you believe. And if you don’t vote you’re basically just giving up your vote for someone else.

Lastly, it’s not just the President you’re voting for, you can vote for who you want in the Senate. But, let’s not forget local elections, were public school control, and discrimination roles. And maybe even allows things like recreational marijuana in your state.

So as you can see, there’s a lot of reasons to vote, but my main message here is that you have a voice, and a choice, to do what you think is right, so go out there, and spread the word that voting really does matter.

Kaitlyn Carampot

Dear editor,

Voting is what Americans call a privilege, something that we fought for to earn, but whether or not we fought for it, it is completely irrelevant to our political system.

Our political system is one that does not require voting, and it was not built for voting, but voting is used, even though it has no effect. Our votes are completely rendered irrelevant because of a process known as ‘The Electoral College”. The Electoral College is a process where representatives elected by the presidential candidates vote for the president, and you only vote for the representatives. This means that the choice of president is controlled by people who you have no control over, so in reality, you have no control over the president. Even if these representatives voted for exactly what we voted for, some states have more voting power, and this is why swing states exist. These swing states are not the most populated, but the most dense, which means that some states have more voting power than others. California, while being the most populated, has less voting power than our state, Washington, Because the population divided by the amount of representatives is a larger fraction for Washington than California, so some people have more  power than others, which  means that the Electoral College,  and therefore voting, does not represent our country.

This year, our reason for voting, whether it be useful or not, is to keep us from having what we consider “a bad president”, but in the circumstance that both are bad candidates, our only way out is a third party, but many people disregard this as a solution. The Third Party is one of the least voted of parties, being only about 5% of our vote, which means that there are only two possible candidates for our president. The fact that there can only be two people who can be our president in itself is a reason that voting does not represent our country. In the situation that in the primaries the two top candidates are democrat, and the top republican has a very small percent of the vote, there still has to be one of each, so the second democrat, who has more votes than the top republican, is taken out of the race, which shows, once again, that voting does not represent us.  Our party system is severely flawed, which is a reason voting is completely irrelevant.

Our candidates are not representatives of what the majority wants, not just for the reason of our two-party system, but because money wins out our vote. Out of all of our presidents, only nine of the forty-four were not millionaires, and this is a great omen of how much money matters in our country.  Money is even more important now than it was before, because now commercialism and marketing are more relevant to us now more than ever, so now you need to be rich to get your name out when you are running for president, which means that the top 1%  run our country, which does not represent our people.  Money is so important to our country that it makes voting not represent us, and therefore, not matter.

People still think that voting matters all for the fact that we fought for it, but all in all, our country has developed a system that prevents our vote from having any consequence. That is why I  think you should not vote.

Benjamin  Langley

Dear editor,

I think people may not want vote in this year’s election. There are many reasons for this. There are only two political parties that are valid in elections and the Electoral College makes the final decision in the presidential election.

In the United States there are two main political parties, Democrat and Republican. This limits our voting options. The parties cover very broad beliefs and many people only agree with some of there parties opinions. Many other democratic nations have several more parties than the US. In the country Nigeria they have a ten party system. Belgium which has many more political parties than the US had an 89% voting rate in 2014. According to some polls one in four Americans don’t like either of the current presidential candidates. The limits of the two party system mean we only have two likely options.

Another reason you may not want to vote is because when it comes to the presidential election the Electoral College makes the final decision. When you vote the state you’re in counts the votes and the state’s Electors use that information in their decision. Only some states require their Electors to vote with the state’s majority. That means a candidate that did not get the majority of votes might still be elected. Because of this your vote may end up being completely meaningless if the  Electors don’t  hold the same opinions as your state. There have been real times when the Electors voted against the majority of votes. When Lincoln was elected the majority of votes were against him. Sometimes the Electors are making good decisions when they vote but there is a chance they may make a bad decision. When we have only a few people making the final vote it takes power away from the  people

There are several reasons people might not want to vote. If in this election there are record low voting rates like some people predict it might bring about change in the current voting systems.

Ethan Coyle

Dear editor,

Why should people vote? I believe that people should vote because not voting can change who is in charge.

First I believe you should vote because if you don’t vote it does not show what the people want.  Here is an example, if you don’t like a person and you don’t vote you are not helping the person you don’t like lose. Also, America has fought in war to try to be able to vote, so if we fight to be able to vote than why don’t we. I think if we have the right to vote than we should because most places you can’t vote for who you want.

We should also vote because now days they make it easy for you to vote. One way they make it easy is first can get a ballot sent to you in mail and it comes with info about the people you are voting for or who is running. Another, way is if you go to a web site you can vote right from your phone or computer. These ways also allow you to vote for any candidate regardless of their party.

Another thing you are not just voting for the presidents there are other things you can vote for. For example, you are also voting for representatives to the federal or state. Also, thing people vote for are the white house representatives. Lastly, people vote for the candidate to represent Republican or Democratic party in a presidential election. In conclusion, I think people should vote because it can change who is in charge and whoever is in charge will change the world we live in.

Emily Czesak

Dear editor,

I think that people in Washington should vote. My main 4 reasons people should vote is because it is easier in Washington, people in other contries don’t get to, you don’t just vote for president, and people worked hard for their right to vote.

The reason it is easier to vote in Washington is that you vote in the mail. The government sends you a voting ballot and a pamphlet of the people you can vote for. Also if you don’t know who the  people that are in the ballot you can look them up online because you are at home.

Another reason you should vote, is that you can in this country. In some third world countries people risk their lives to vote. And in some other countries nobody can vote for anything at all. And people are just elected even if nobody likes him. so be happy that you can.

And also another reason to vote is that you don’t just vote for president. if the person you don’t want to be for president gets in it is not all bad. lf you get the people that you want in the congress they can stop the bad things they want to do. And nothing bad will happen.

People in this country haven’t always been able to vote. For a small time in history of America you had to own land, be might, be a male, you also had to pay a poll tax, and over 21years old. People also use to have to take a literacy test and if you fail you can’t vote. and now the only specifications you need is to be over 18, be a citizen of the country, and a registered voter.

So in conclusion I think everybody that can should vote. Because it is a lot easier and the system is just better.

Toren Harris

Dear editor,

Voting matters because even one vote can make a difference.

We have the right to vote. In some countries people can’t vote till they are 21 years old or older.  In America people taught to vote and some still don’t vote. Earlier in days it was like any other country. Today we can vote at 18 years old and older.

MORE PEOPLE COULD VOTE! Why do people 18 year old people vote less now. The 65 and  older vote more than most of the people. The 18-64 year olds gradually keep going down. The 65 year olds vote more than any other people.

If people do not vote it will not make a difference, nothing will change. Also if people vote more the more the president feels he has power because people care for him. SO LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE BY VOTING!

In conclusion I think voting matters because it makes a difference.

Michael Kovalenko

Dear editor,

Why does voting matter? Why should you vote for the President of the United States? I’ll tell you why in this message.

Voting is very important to the United States. Without your vote, we don’t know your opinion on things, and what  you might  need. If you didn’t vote, then we can’t help you with what you need. If there was a president that would fix all the roads on the West Coast, and a president that would build more schools, and you didn’t vote, then we would not know what you needed more where you live. You can rely on the Government, but only if the government can rely on you. You need each other to work properly and to fix things that need fixing.

You’re not just voting for the President you know. Your voting for the Congress as well. You decide who gets in the Congress, the Democrats or Republicans, about who you’re voting for to make it all work out. If a Republican president made it in the United States of America, but Democrats got into the Congress, nothing will work very well, and everything the President said he/she would do, wouldn’t happen since they can’t work together, and we need you to choose who goes where.

There isn’t any reason that you shouldn’t vote in America. They have made it so easy to do this, you can basically do it in your sleep at this point. You don’t do much work, if you are registered then they send you it in the mail.  Have a Facebook account? No problem, they will send you a message about who you are voting for. You can literally do it from your house, and it’s free to vote, no money needed, so why would you not help your country by giving them your opinion about who is better for running America.

If you knew the history of voting, you would honor the people that made it fair by voting for the United States. In 1776, the only people that could vote were White men that were 21 and older, and they had to own land in order to vote.  By 1920, Women and African Americans could vote in America, and in 1924 Native Americans could vote. It took almost 200 years for the voting to be fair for women, African Americans, and the Native Americans, as long as they were educated. If they were not educated then they could not pass the literacy test that let them vote, it wasn’t until1964 when that was removed from America. You might be wondering, how did the voting system change? Well, it’s a sad story for most of the Americans back then. Many people protested day and night, while others used their vote to make America fair. Because of this, many of them died, and  they died  so you can vote,  no matter if you’re African American, White, Native American, a man  or women, if you’re old or young, the only two things that can stop you, is being 18, and  your courage to vote for America.

In conclusion for my letter, I hope that I have opened your eyes, and got you the will to vote for our country, since we need to make America great again.

Tommy Olinger-Stirrat

Dear editor,

The 2016 election in particular is a pretty bad election in my opinion, but you can argue with me the other way. I don’t think the candidates are good, but you still should vote because it means much more. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren’t the best, not even close and it doesn’t help with the new info that we have received about Trump.

Let’s go back to the idea of voting not just to get a new president but to get a new vice president, someone who gives thoughts and ideas, tries and gets the president to suck in the info. If you don’t vote, then the worst or for some people the best president will be elected because of electoral college and not you. If you ever came to a point that you didn’t vote or didn’t get the chance, that could happen. It all depends on you, that small percent could change the course of the election. You are the one who decides what age and gender can vote if you vote for a certain president. We all have that one friend who would hate to be put out in the open and be called things like black and racist, some presidents will do that and point out those factors, so would you want to vote for them, your choice?

You might be thinking about why not to vote, there should be no reason, but there is a few. Maybe let’s say you didn’t vote because of being young or not liking the candidate. That’s no reason because if you don’t vote the president you may not prefer may get better results because of who you vote for senate and the house of representatives. I’m only a 14 year old boy, but I still follow the rules because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t there could be consequences, you don’t want those at all. I may not have the right to vote but I do still have opinions about the candidates.

Maybe you want to vote but you can’t decide, well don’t fret, the internet is a thing now and it’s coming at a more powerful rate in speed. You can do your research in ten to twenty minutes, that’s gets you into how to decide. You can choose based on what you read, who to vote for. This is why people should vote, and I’m done I hope you enjoyed and got some info out of it.

Colton Pedersen

Dear editor,

I think that all Americans should vote and that your vote in fact does matter.

One reason why all American citizens should vote is because it is not just for the president you also have to vote people into other spots. Like on the Senate or the Cabinet. Also we should vote because our ancestors fought for the right to vote. Many people died because they wanted the future, which is us, to vote and have that right that they wanted.  In the past people have banded together to make a change and that is what we can do.

We should vote because colored people fought for the right to vote. Here in 2016 not many people are using the right that was fought over by countless people that wanted this right. It is the same for women how they fought for the right to vote and use this right. It wasn’t until March 23, 1971that people the age of 18 were allowed to vote. In 2008 a record amount of young people voted because they wanted to see the first black president in office.

We should all vote because even though the other nominee may win. If they win by a landslide then they will not try to win voters in their first four years. But if they win by only say

5% then they will say yes to bills that will give them more votes in the next election. Also if the president does win by a landslide then most likely he will feel he will have more power and do stuff that you may not like. Only about 60% that have the right to vote actually vote during presidential elections. In midterm only 40% of possible voters actually voted.

As you can see, as an American citizen you should vote in the election on November 8, 2016.

Joshua Ramey

Dear editor,

Voting matters because people did not have rights before. So later on people fought for rights and everybody had rights to vote and now people aren’t voting. Even if you don’t want to vote for president you can vote for congress to limit power.

For example you can vote for republican or democrat if there are more republican then democrat  for congress a democrat president won’t have more power then a republican. So voting for congress can limit power since they make the choices. People died to give rights to those that had none so people died to give rights but people don’t vote. Well that was a waste so vote for those who died.

Adrian .T.M

Dear editor,

I think voting matters in the 2016 Election. Here are some reasons for that.

First, the government makes voting easy in most states. The taxes you pay will go to the pamphlets about the candidates they send you in the mail. And you can easily do it on the internet. So out of the two options you have it makes it pretty easy. Internet or mail.

Next, you also have options, like if you don’t like the president you can vote for the senate. Or other people in the house of representatives. Or you can vote for other people in the legislative branch.

Last, people fought hard day and night to get this right. Like women and black people. And poor people. And it’s a way of your voice being heard.

That is all the reasons I have for voting matters! hope this makes you want to vote.

Ryan Vaughan

Not from the editor: all the letters above were lightly edited. 

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