B’East Senior Shares Voting Experience


Sahil Gupta

If 2020 taught us anything, it was that large national issues can significantly influence voter turnout. The 2020 election saw a record number of early and absentee votes, but the 2020 election also recorded a record 52% of the eligible youth cast ballots, compared to 19% in 2016 (Tufts University).

Brookfield East Student Viktor Sakman(12) shared his voting experience with the Spartan Banner in December. He talked about some voting challenges and some of his opinions on the issues that mattered to America. In addition, he shed some light on some of the stories of voter suppression in certain states.

Sakman told our interviewer, “for me, the line lasted 20 minutes, but I’ve heard in other states people waiting 5-6 hours…” These stories are true. Al Jazeera, an international news organization, based in Qatar, reported that voters in swing states like Georgia waited up to eleven hours to cast their ballots. Americans saw these wait times in several different states due to lack of staffing, tech problems, and in some cases, people were deliberately trying to stop voters from making their voices heard.

Sakman also reflected on the importance of taking the office of President of the United States seriously. “Whatever views I did have politically, it kinda became outweighed because I wanted a president that can conduct himself maturely as an adult, who doesn’t act like a child whenever someone who works with him doesn’t agree with his ideas, so that was pretty important.”

Sakman mentioned that “this was a once in a lifetime experience,” as being able to vote in the presidential election at the age of 18 is an amazing opportunity.  “I could never have this again, so I wanted to take advantage of it.”

Sakman also told The Spartan Banner about how it was essential to treat the presidency like a job that helps all people, not just one side of the political spectrum. He also stated that the president should be “mature enough to understand the responsibilities of having the most powerful seat in America.” Additionally, he mentioned how it was important not to treat the office “like it’s a game or one of his business.”

This article was published during a very unstable time for our nation’s democracy. The events that took place on January 6, 2021, only remind us how important it is that a lame duck president is respectful of the fact that he lost. Our interview was conducted in December of 2020, but the information gathered remains relevant. A president must act in a way that shows that he values the extremely powerful voice of the American people. It is important that all of our countries’ citizens have their voices heard. Democracy is very valuable, but also very fragile, and all Americans must make sure that it stays intact for all of our future generations.