Seniors able to vote in recent election


The 2015 general election for Arlington as well as the nation fell on an off year, meaning one without Senate, House or Presidential nominees. While the county planned for a low turnout throughout the day, many were genuinely surprised at the number of voters and the experience, including some seniors here at the school.  

Voting turnout, projected to be below 20 percent, was estimated at 27 percent, causing some precincts to run low on ballots. Poll workers were sent scrambling to find extra ballots towards the end of the day.

It was a transition year as well as the voting machines of the past were done away with. In their press release in early 2015, the county stated that paper ballots would be made available to more voters as long as there was an equal amount of voting booths.  

The old machines were limited in amount, occasionally malfunctioned and some voters could take longer than others at a station, which slowed the process. Paper ballots also had a strong track record of being useable in power outages and acted as physical evidence for casted votes.

High school seniors who were 18 or older before or on Election Day were able to vote. While no number has been officially released on teen voters, the few students that could vote attempted to make their impact. “It was exciting,” senior Henry Bendon said. “It’s really a privilege to vote at all. It’s the only way we pick leaders, and I get to be part of it.”

When all the votes were counted, Patrick Hope (D) won re-election versus Janet Murphy (I) for House of Delegates District 47. In the state Senate, Barbara Favola (D) defeated George Forakis (R) for District 31. With many of the county positions going uncontested, the county board race received the most attention, with Kate Cristol and Christian Dorsey filling the vacant spots.

With no major national candidates running, some who could vote were disinterested or did not know the candidates at all. “I had never heard of anyone I was voting for, so I decided I would wait until next year, when I will know everybody,” senior Michael Schwartz said.

As momentum builds going into the 2016 General Election, many seniors are preparing themselves for the future. “I am definitely excited about the presidential election,” Bendon said. “It’s the leader of the free world. How can you not be excited?”