CVHS seniors vote for the first time- but young voter turnout in TX down 20% from 2016

Harris County voters line up for the poll at Gregory Lincoln School.

Chris Paul/Houston Public Media

Harris County voters line up for the poll at Gregory Lincoln School.

On March 3, CVHS seniors were able to vote for the first time on Super Tuesday, during the primary season of presidential elections. However, young voter turnout (ages 18 to 24) was disappointingly low across the county, Texas, and the nation. 

According to the Harvard Institute of Politics, even though voter turnout across Texas increased by approximately half a million voters from 2016 to 2020, the rate for young voter turnout across the state decreased by 20 percent.  This doesn’t bode well for Bernie Sander. 60 percent of youth polled expressed support for Sanders and only 17 percent for Biden. On the other hand, among voters 65 and older, 15 percent polled expressed support for Bernie and 50 percent for Biden. 

So how do CVHS seniors compare to the national and state voter turnout rate?

The majority of seniors, Upstream News visited during the advocacy period, refused to share their political opinions over a survey and went back to doing their homework when asked to engage in the survey. 

A CVHS senior who requested to remain anonymous expressed that his family is his main source of political information. 

“Not Trump I guess would be good. My family mostly makes me believe Trump is the only one I can vote for so I  take it into account and well they are the only source of politics I know. I haven’t have had time to look over everything out with you know trying to better my SAT.”

Senior Vincent Marchese, who voted for candidate Bernie Sanders, had more detailed knowledge on the candidates’ platform on education and healthcare. 

“Let’s start with the basics, which is that I think that he is the best out of any of the given candidates. I think he has the best shot at beating Trump. I trust him the most. I mean, also, I’m trans and bi, so he’s got the best records on both of those issues,” said Marchese. 

Marchese has been active on social media platforms and has also participated in political protests. 

“I do spend most of my time just you know, yelling at people in real life and on Twitter. But I do go to political protests,” said Marchese. 

According to Marchese, CVHS teachers have been successful at political and civic education. 

“We do a little bit of glorifying America’s history, but I think that the teachers here don’t do that. They speak truthfully. They educate their students, and they attempt to keep their students engaged and well, you know, they care and that is the best antidote to apathy that I can think of,” said Marchese. 

Still, there are many people who are politically uninformed. 

“One, realizing how politics affects you. This is like the most important thing, and I think it’s why Bernie Sanders is so effective at sort of energizing people to get politically involved and politically active because we all understand how student loan debt, how healthcare how how, how job security minimum wage, we all get, how that affects us,” said Marchese.  “I think could get people more politically active if we have, outlets and sources that are better at informing people, and, again, making these sorts of connections again.”

According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, only 1 in 3 Texans under 40 yo have been contacted by a campaign in the past six months preceding Super Tuesday.   

But Marchese thinks that young people should be more pro-active in reaching out to campaigns and media to make sure they are well-informed and active. 

“I’d say talk to political organizers in your area, you know, in person is good. Online is good, print, people, text, video, all of that is good in person is better. I would say, go out and do something now what that something is I’m going to leave up to the listeners or the audience,” said Marchese.