More than a dozen teens braved the rain in Union Square on Tuesday to encourage people to do what they could not yet: vote.
The teens, some donning colorful capes, stood by the entrance to the subway with a megaphone and asked commuters if they had voted on Tuesday. If they couldn’t fill out a ballot themselves, several teens said, they needed people who could to hear their opinions.
"I think it’s so important that people view voting not as a chore, but as a privilege," said Ava Monroe, 15, from the West Village. "If I can’t vote, I need someone to vote for me."
Tuesday’s initiative, run by the newly formed Future Coalition, encouraged high school students to leave school on Election Day to exercise their right to vote. In New York City, public schools are closed for Election Day. While many expected a bigger crowd, these teens refused to let the rain put a damper on their spirits.
"As 15-year-olds, a lot of people feel like they don’t really have as much of an influence over what happens in the government," said Abby Gluck, 15, also of the West Village. "But if we come out here and we rally and we convince other people to use their voices and use their votes for us … then it’s really us getting our voices through people who have the opportunity to vote."
Fellow West Village resident Hudson Flynn, 15, said he feels there is always room for improvement within government and while he can’t vote yet, he can try to influence others. He said he was particularly disappointed by someone who told him on Tuesday they don’t vote.
"We want the teenage voice to also be represented because while we can’t vote, we have just as many opinions as an adult who can," he said. "There is a great, vast majority of teens who if given the opportunity to vote, they would be voting immediately, they would be going right to the polls. And there’s a vast majority of adults who have the opportunity to do that and are not using the chance that they have."
He added, "And I think something really relevant and appropriate that people have been saying is, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain."