SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Iowa law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote in the Iowa caucuses and participate in the June primary elections if they will be eighteen by November 3, 2020.
Secretary of State Paul Pate created an experience designed to inspire civic engagement among those youths, called The Iowa Youth Straw Poll.
“They send us the ballots, and they give us little video clips that we can show the kids or the kids can get on. Which what I did was I loaded up the link that they can view the candidates’ videos, just little introduction stuff,” said Jan George, a teacher at West High School.
After learning about the candidates and their stance on different issues, the students then voted for their preferred candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House.
“They’re exposed to it. They can not be afraid of going into the booth and choosing a candidate that best fits their needs and their situation in life. And they are the future leaders. They are gonna make decisions for myself, and for you guys here pretty soon.” said George.
George said the issues that seem to concern his students the most are immigration, same-sex marriage, and gun control.
And he believes many of the students are more informed than we may think when it comes to their choice on the next president.
“So we are being taught to be informed on elections and candidates,” said Aaliyah Orozco, a senior at West High School.
George said he always tells his students he doesn’t care who they vote for, as long as they know why they are voting for that candidate.
According to the Office of the Iowa Secretary of State, President Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the top vote-getters among the presidential candidates included on the Youth Straw Poll.
The preliminary results show that President Trump leads all presidential candidates with 35% of the vote overall, and more than 90% among Republican candidates.
Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders is the leading Democratic candidate among young voters with 15%.
Former vice president Joe Biden trails him with 8%, and Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang are tied with 7%.
As of Tuesday evening, 21,000 students across the state voted in the poll.
All the presidential candidates, democrats and republicans, were featured on a single question. Many Youth Straw Poll participants will be eligible to participate in next year Iowa Caucuses