Will Mack’s 18-year-olds vote?



Alphonso Jackson, 19, cares about issues and “prays for Obama” but is not registered to vote. He’s leaving McClymonds to finish his high school studies at Dewey.

Carlos Valladares, 18, a senior at McClymonds, registered at his church in June, but is not sure he will vote. “Even if I vote, there won’t be big change,” but he is exploring issues in American Government class.

by Khristan Antoine

There are 21 potential voters at McClymonds High School. The big question is: how many will actually vote on Nov. 6?

Carlos Valladares, 18, a senior at McClymonds, registered at his church in June, but is not sure he will vote. “Even if I vote, there won’t be big change,” but he is exploring issues in his American Government class at McClymonds.

Is Valladares typical or is Dominick Williams, a 2012 McClymonds graduate, who did not register to vote because “the policies they (both presidential candidates) support won’t benefit me.”

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are appealing to the young. Here at McClymonds, Mamas for Obama plans to come to school to persuade students to vote for Obama.

According to exit polls, 66 percent of young Americans voted for candidate Barack Obama in 2008, and 78 percent of young voters (ages 18 to 29) had said they would likely vote for him in that election. What happened to the 12 percent?

Will 2012 be different? We do know that the media say that there might be an “enthusiasm gap” this year. With rising unemployment, lack of jobs, and a struggling economy, will youth give President Barack Obama the same energy and enthusiasm it did four years ago?

Luisah Teish of Mamas for Obama hopes so. She plans to pass out literature to students at McClymonds and bring someone from the organization to talk about Obama’s accomplishments, health care for all, student loans, and economic stimulus.

“If youth stands up, I can sit my old ass down,” she said.

When asked why youths don’t register to vote, Teish said, “Often their parents aren’t registered, so they’re not properly informed by adults with whom they interact. ”

Carlos Valladares, 18, a senior, says that the fact that his father feels so strongly about voting has influenced him. That’s why he registered

Only 58 percent of registered young voters said that they were definitely likely to vote in this election, which is a drop of 20 percent in just four years. And conservative pollsters claim that Mitt Romney has 42 percent of the youth votes.

Both candidates want to capture the youth vote. Kal Penn (a Hindu actor who works for Obama and played Kumar in the movie Harold and Kumar) has been campaigning for Obama on college campuses; Republicans are talking about jobs for the young.

Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, likes to point out that youths have no jobs and have to move back with their parents. “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms…and wondering when they can move out and get going with life,” he said.

Currently 42 percent of 18 to 19 year old voters identify as conservative, according to John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

One response to “Will Mack’s 18-year-olds vote?

  1. Khristan, What a great article! So proud of you and all your accomplishments at Mac. CB (from WOMS Health Photos Project)

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