Kind of a B16 Deal: Manitou’s Newest Wave of Eligible Voters

Sita Ahlen, Senior Reporter

Next year’s presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 8. Approximately 25 candidates have declared intent to run, while three so far have dropped out.

A large portion of the student body is very politically aware. Over half of those, who completed a school-wide survey involving voting, have been following the 2016 presidential race, either by reading articles, watching debates, or actively participating in discussions.

To vote in next year’s election, one must be at least 18 year of age at the date of the election. In this case, anyone born before November 8th, 1998 may vote in the upcoming Presidential race.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 33.7% of 9th to 12th graders nation wide voted in 2008.Calculated according to birthdates, 163 members of the sophomore, junior and senior classes will be able to vote. Out of the 33 eligible MSHS voters who responded to the survey, 81% said that they will vote in 2016.  If all 81% of the students voted, Manitou Springs High School students would more than double the nations standard, depending on the rest of the countries voters.

Another school-wide survey, non-inclusive of those who are eligible to vote, was sent to students who were not eligible. This survey held only 77 results.

Of these 77 results, 37.3% said they would vote for Bernie Sanders (D). 17.3% would vote for an unlisted candidate, and 14.7% would vote for Ben Carson (R). The rest of the candidates (Carly Fiorina (R), Donald Trump (R), Hillary Clinton (D), Jeb Bush (R), John Kasich (R), Mike Huckabee (R), Ted Cruz(R)) were scattered below 10%.

In a CBS News Poll released on October 11, Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) were still leading in numbers. Ben Carson (R) and Bernie Sanders (D) came in second for republicans and democrats. While Clinton led the democratic party in the poll, with 46% of all votes, Trump, the highest-ranking candidate of the republican party, only had 27% of all votes. In our survey, only 12% of students would vote for Clinton, and 11% would vote for Trump.

The survey conducted by The Prospector suggested that the parents of high school students have little to no effect on their children’s political viewpoints. Eight eligible students said that their parents or guardians definitely affected their choice.

One anonymous student said, “I disagree with them but I also have some of the same views as they do.”

Voting has always been very important to Mahalia Henschel (12). She has already registered, in fact, twice. Once, online, and another with the school. Registering unaffiliated left her without being connected with a certain party.

Henschel has decided that, at this moment, Bernie Sanders is the candidate she would most likely vote for. Henschel hasn’t always been interested in politics, but since she is now eligible, she definitely takes things more seriously, including college tuition and taxes.

“I watched more of the republican debate because it was more comical and frustrating,” she says. 

“I think it is ridiculous that you should put someone in government that is gonna be that blunt. You know? They to deal with some pretty tense situations. Like you can’t just put anyone in that kind of position and expect them to succeed,” Henschel said, remarking on how brilliant Sanders acts when he refuses to be rude to other candidates.

Harrison Sokol (12) will vote in next year’s presidential race, if he gets his registration papers sent in. Most candidates entered the race in mid-May, leaving it still very early in the elections, but Sokol has already whittled it down to two candidates: Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, although it is doubtful Paul will be able to get into the primaries.

“Bernie, I believe, is doing well enough so far. Considered he is a self declared “socialist,” he is doing extremely well. Rand Paul is not doing so well. His polls are low and he receives very little time to talk during the debates” Sokol said.

Sokol registered as a democrat to vote in the primaries, however he would have rather not registered with either party. “I have always liked discussing [politics],” said Sokol.

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for President of the United States, is currently serving his second term as a US senator. The majority of the high school shows overwhelming support for him, 59.4% of eligible students are already rooting for him, including Henschel and Sokol. Sanders has been drawing support young voters for his ideas involving free college tuition and the raising of the minimum wage.

Ben Carson, a Republican candidate, is a retired neurosurgeon. About 17% of students who took our survey would vote for him in the upcoming election.

The 2016 election is predicted to have the lowest voter turnout since 2000.

In the state of Colorado, 16 to 17 year olds may pre-register to vote. Visit the DMV website for voter registration facts and forms. To register online, you must have either a Colorado driver’s license or Colorado ID card from the DMV.