Briar Woods Hits the Polls: 2020 Democratic Primaries


Colorado Politics, stockphoto

Anna Chung and Chloe DeFilippo

This Tuesday, March 3, is the 2020 Virginia Democratic primary election. Virginia is one of 14 states holding their primary to determine the Democratic nominee on March 3, the single most important day for determining the Democratic nominee due to the fact that the majority of voters in the U.S. will be hitting the polls on what is referred to as “Super Tuesday”. According to the Washington Post, 1,357 delegates out of the total 3,979 will be determined on Super Tuesday this year. California has joined the states participating in Super Tuesday this year, having previously held their primary in June. This year, 30% of the Super Tuesday delegates will come from California. 

In Virginia, those who will be eligible 18-year-olds by November 3, 2020 are able to vote in the primary election. That means the majority of seniors, and some underclassmen, are qualified to vote in the primary. 

Eligible Briar Woods seniors had the opportunity to register to vote in their government classes this past December. Students who registered received a sticker that declared their registration as a precursor to the “I voted!” sticker they would receive in March. 

In addition to the registration, AP government classes try to prepare students to vote in an informed manner. “[Our curriculum illustrates] the importance of the roles of the Constitution for national government, the limits on the president, and how different ideologies influence whether the president pushes those limits or not,” explains AP government teacher Ben Scarboro. He believes that it is important for students who are eligible to vote to exercise that privilege. “I think if they look at their ideologies, or as they’re starting to learn their ideologies, it’s important to choose a potential leader for that party whether they want to vote against that person in the general election or not,” he says. With the information that they have learned in class, students have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to engage in their civic duty by casting their vote. 

“I’m definitely voting,” says Briar Woods senior Siona Pathak. “I think it’s really important for teens to vote because it’s as much their country as it is older adults’ who are very likely to go vote, so it’s important teens make their voices heard as well.” However, she has not yet decided who to vote for. Unwilling to go in uninformed, she wants to make it a point to read up on each candidate and their stances through news sources such as CNN, NBC, and AP. “There’s websites that I’ve found that indicate liberal or conservative bias so I’ll usually read articles but go in with that knowledge that there might be some bias.”

Another Briar Woods senior, Autumn Bell, is more indifferent to voting. When asked whether she would be voting in the 2020 Virginia Democratic primary, Bell responded, “I don’t know, I guess so. Might as well. This is the first [election] I can vote in, which I think is exciting.”

In order to prepare for her decision, Bell states that she will likely research over the weekend and will be utilizing “any website that offers a nice simple guide.” “But,” Bell said, “I’ll look at a bunch of them so it’s not biased.” 

According to Maddie Musso, senior, it is “important for teens to vote because it gives [them] the ability to participate in our democracy and elect people who work for them.” She believes that it provides teens with a rare outlet for them  to express what they want in a leader and for their country.

Musso states that she hasn’t yet decided who to vote for because there is “a lot to consider.” “I get my information from just news on the TV and political wire which is like a political blog,” said Musso. “I like it because it’s really unbiased so I trust it more. I don’t really know how I determine what’s bias; I just kind of know.” 

In regards to making an informed voting decision, Scarboro states that students should go to the candidates’ websites. “They should also look at news articles,” said Scarboro, “but I think what’s really important to think about what values they hold most dear and think about issues on those values and what the presidential candidates talk about and how they address those issues and whether that makes sense to them or not.”

When asked the infamous question “why don’t people vote?”, his answer was simple. “I think it’s apathy,” he stated. He believes that people don’t recognize the value and importance of their own vote, believing that they alone can’t make a difference. “I think it’s important for them to recognize that we do live in a government where government’s powers are limited,” he said when asked what he would tell those apathetic voters. “If they choose leaders who respect their values and who understand the Constitution and are willing to abide by those limits, it can have a tremendous impact on their lives.”