Puzzled at the Polls

Malvern students recount their experience while voting for the first time in this complicated 2022 Midterm election.

On November 8th, many Americans spent a portion of their day voting in the midterm elections: voicing their opinion, supporting what they believe, and contributing to a functioning democracy. Even so, some of our Malvern students were now eligible to vote in their first election. At the long lines at the poll booth, young, naive Malvern students may find it stressful voting for the first time.


Dillon O’Connor, a senior at Malvern, experienced first hand during this year’s elections. He recounted the troubles other first-time voters might face during their when casting their ballot.


“When I arrived there, I had no idea what to do. I waited for other people to go to see what door I was supposed to enter. Even when I got into the building, there was still no one to lead me. I was left on an island,” O’Connor said.


In addition to intimidation or lack of direction, the emotional aspect of voting for the first time is also present.


“I was more nervous than anything. Not knowing what I was supposed to do,” O’Connor said.


O’Connor, who had been following the election, recognized the importance of voting and voicing an opinion, particularly in a state that has been a battleground for the two major parites in recent years.


“It feels good being from PA, which is a swing state. It makes me feel like I have more power in my vote,” O’Connor stated.


Similarly to O’Connor, Malvern’s faculty also recognizes the importance of voting. Mr. Hill, a AP U.S History teacher, feels voting is crucial to every eligible young person.


“Every person in this country over 18 should make sure that their opinion is heard. It’s crucial to know who you are voting for. Both the character of the man or woman as well as what their policies are,”  Mr. Hill stated.


Other faculty members, such as veteran History teacher Mr. McGuire, shared their opinions on the importance of being well informed and how important that is to new voters. 

“You need to be informed in order to make an intelligent decision, and that’s the great risk with a democracy. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always neat and clean, but it does work,” Mr. McGuire said.


Mr. McGuire also recognized common fears and confusions first time voters face. 


“It’s important to get into the habit of doing it because you can get discouraged and turned off, especially with political ads and campaigns. This is a curse in American society,” McGuire said.


The importance of voting and voicing an opinion is a valuable part of being an engaged community member. Developing a stance, informing yourself, and traveling to your local voting booth can be a puzzling and daunting experience, but it contributes to a functioning democracy and is one of the most patriotic things a citizen can do.