Teen voting on the rise… Awareness not so much

By Joey Jackson and David Mohimani –

Rock the Vote, Vote or Die, and Choose or Lose have all been initiatives to try and get young people, specifically ages 18-29, to go vote, and, apparently it has been effective.

According to CIRCLE, (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) an estimated 23 million young Americans under the age of 30 voted in the 2008 presidential election, an increase of 3.4 million compared to the 2004 election. CIRCLE estimates that youth voter turnout rose to between 52 and 53 percent, an increase of

four to five percentage points over CIRCLE’s estimate based on the 2004 exit polls. The 2004 election was a strong one for youth turnout, reversing a long history of decline.

With the election coming in November and the primary season in full swing, some Penn Manor seniors plan on exercising their right to vote, while others do not.

“I don’t like politics because it’s boring. Nothing ever changes, they (politicians) just tell you what you wanna hear,” senior Mitch Domin explained.

Even more scary is the fact that teens who are voting don’t follow the campaigns, which asks the question, what foundations do they base their vote on?

“I get my opinions straight from my daddy,” senior Michael Andrusisin answered.

So what does daddy say?

“I wish America would strengthen the future of our nation rather than hindering it,” Andrusisin stated. “Both of my parents are teachers, so education is a big deal to me.”

“[It] doesn’t matter who the president is, the same things will happen,” senior Michael Andrusisin added. “And I think Obama is a cool dude.”

Further yet, some people claim allegiance to a particular side yet not all young voters fully understand what that particular party represents.

“I’m definitely more liberal, I think people should be able to do what they want,” said senior Alex Lombardo.

“I want less government control,” added Lombardo.

Other students expressed disinterest in the process or what it takes to understand the issues and the candidates.

“…maybe it’s their civic duty not to vote because they don’t know anything,” ABC reporter John Stossel stated in an interview conducted by ABC that can be found here.

“Teenagers don’t understand the profound effect a new president can have. “[Teenagers] don’t seem to care unless the laws directly apply to them,” said senior Brandon Schuman.

Another worrisome fact is that some high school seniors are not interested in entire topics like health care or foreign policy.

“What’s that?” senior Bob Warfel said in response to a question regarding foreign policy. “I care a lot more about stuff like education because the cost of college is so high.”

Even with so much confusion about the issues, nearly every Penn Manor senior we talked to said they did indeed plan on voting.

It appears that Penn Manor will be well represented in the voting booth the only question that remains will they be voting  just to vote or will they knowingly and responsibly decide who they think the best leader for our country will be.

Aaron Sellers contributed to this story.

If you’re 18 and you aren’t yet a registered voter, CLICK HERE to register.

Date of PA’s GOP primary: April 24, 2012

Date of Presidential Election: November 6, 2012