A local teen will celebrate her 18th birthday this year by casting a ballot in her first presidential election.
Nina Gable, a senior at North Montgomery High School, reaches the legal voting age on Election Day itself, but the campaign is a topic of discussion among friends and classmates from all sides of the political spectrum.
“I’ve learned to respect them and respect their beliefs because I know I won’t always agree with other people,” she said.
Long before she was old enough to vote, Gable and her siblings have been encouraged to stay informed about politics.
Her dad, John, was a poll inspector at Sugar Creek Elementary, where she and her siblings went to school. In 2008, her mom, Chris, gave her the day off from kindergarten so they could watch Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin rally supporters in Noblesville.
Gable, who was adopted from China when she was one, received another kind of civics lesson when she formally took the oath of citizenship in 2017. Federal law grants automatic citizenship to children adopted from other countries, but parents can apply for proof of citizenship. (Gable’s younger sister, Ellen, now 15, was also adopted from China, and her 20-year-old brother, Nathan, was adopted from Russia.)
And since Indiana allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by November’s election, Gable has already recorded her first vote.
“It was really cool to have that involvement in the community,” she said.
As she watched the presidential debates and talked with her parents about the election, Gable said she weighed the candidates’ stances on agricultural and farming issues. (John Gable is a farmer.)
“We’ve encouraged our kids not to get their information from memes or Facebook,” Chris Gable said.
More than 15 million Americans have turned 18 since the last presidential election, and young voters nationwide say they are enthusiastic about the campaigns.
In a poll of 18-to-29-year-olds conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School shows more than 60% of young adults will “definitely be voting,” compared to 47% at the same time in 2016.
“Young Americans are seeing first hand how their government impacts their day to day lives and they are ready to make their voices heard in this election,” institute director Mark Gearan said in a statement posted online.
Gable said she plans to continue following politics as she pursues ministry-related studies at a four-year university in Indiana.