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Guest Column: We can’t vote yet, so please don’t let your chance slip by

An urgent request from the sixth- and seventh-graders of the Peconic Community School: We need you to vote.

We can’t, but you CAN! Your vote can change our country. One vote, maybe yours, can affect the entire outcome of our election. Since we can’t vote, we are relying on ALL the adults in the community to cast their vote. Voting is the way to get a say in what happens in the government. Once you are an adult, you have the right and the responsibility to vote; so why not use this power to make our lives better?

Although we are kids and cannot vote, there are so many things that are important to us. We care about the environment and climate change, everyone’s safety, health care, ending the coronavirus, equality, our education and so much more. Voting is a privilege that some people in other countries are denied. We cannot understand why adults in our country would choose to not take advantage of this privilege.

Before you vote, you have to have a voting plan. Having a voting plan is an idea about how, and when, you are going to vote. You can vote in person on Nov. 3, Election Day. You can also vote in-person before Election Day, or you can vote by mail. As of Oct. 22, more than 28 million people already voted! Some voted because of the pandemic and because they think it’s safer for the community. 

We think it is really important that you know who, and what, you are voting for in this election. We want you to know what you are voting for so you can make an informed decision about who you want in office. PLEASE learn about the beliefs of the candidates so you can choose the candidates who believe in the same things you do. Please DO NOT listen to people who try to influence you to choose a certain person. Make you decision based on facts! And, if you think your vote won’t matter, you are wrong. Your vote could be the one that changes everything.

In this election you are voting for many positions such as president, county court judge, family court judge, representative in Congress, state senator and member of the State Assembly. You are also voting for two propositions. The first one is for changing the term of office for legislators from two to four years. The second one is really complicated. Even the adults in our school do not understand this one. We believe it has something to do with using funding that is being used to support places like the Pine Barrens to pay for other things in government, but we are not sure. We wonder why an important proposition would be written in such a way that is too hard for most people to understand. 

Here are some important facts to help you vote:

• Voting early in person: We think early voting can be helpful because then you won’t have to stand in long lines. Some people are concerned that their vote won’t count. Voting early can make you feel more secure about this. Early voting started Oct. 24 and goes through Nov. 1. Early voting in Southold takes place at the Southold Senior Center in Mattituck. In Riverhead you can vote early at the Riverhead Senior Center. Vote at Stony Brook Southampton College campus or at Windmill Village in East Hampton. Check each location for hours. 

• Absentee/Mail in ballot: If you already have an absentee ballot you can bring it with you to vote early in person or mail it before Election Day. Follow ALL the instructions correctly, otherwise your vote may not be counted. 

• Voting on Election Day: Do you know where you should vote on Election Day? If not, then you should find out. You can’t go to any random polling place. You have to go to the polling place where you’re registered. Most polling places are in libraries or schools. If you haven’t received a card in the mail telling you where to vote, go to suffolkcountyny.gov to find out. 

Grown-ups are always telling us to be responsible for so many things and for so many reasons. But, now we are asking you to be responsible for voting. We need YOU to be responsible, to take our future seriously. Voting shows us that you care about us. Do you?

Thank you for reading this.

This column is written the following sixth and seventh-grade students at Peconic Community School: Uly Berliner-Smith, Nataly Duque, Auggie Earls, Andrew Ferrandino, Sophie Heidemann, James P. Meehan, Asen Roussan, Liam Sullivan, Kai Tvelia