First-time voters turn out at the polls

Christian Prenzler, Reporter

Moving their clocks ahead wasn’t the only shift students made last week. Almost 200 made a shift towards adulthood as they cast their votes in the Illinois primary for the first time.

“It was organized and simple. They make everything really easy,” senior Brianna Lehr said. “It was much less complicated than I initially thought.”

This election has been widely known as one of the most polarizing elections in history. The voter turnout in Mclean County was 50% compared to 24% in the 2012 general election primary, representing a twofold increase in turnout.

“This election has been nuts!” senior Nolan Simmons said. “I think it’s because of Trump. I feel like people have been more engaged, some for the wrong reasons. Each election feels more important than the last, but this election has so many millennials voting.”

Read about Trump rally held in Bloomington.

Students have been very vocal this year about the candidates they support. The candidate of choice for most teens this year has been democratic nominee Bernie Sanders, as represented in the U-Engage blog mock primary election. Based on the preliminary results, a significant majority of students voted in the democratic primary, Bernie Sanders swept Hillary Clinton 82% to 18%. Several students said that even though they support Bernie Sanders, they would rather vote for a republican in order to stop Trump.

“Well, I knew who I was voting for when I went in and it was just nice to be done with it. I felt like I was able to share my opinion,” Lehr said.

While students knew who the candidates were on either side of the aisle, many did not know what to expect on the physical ballot. This year’s primary did not have many contested elections; students now know how many positions are on the ballot for the future.

“I was nervous, but it was thrilling,” senior Grace Henderson said. “I felt like an actual citizen, being able to vote for the first time. I went in having two candidates in mind and I chose my candidate while filling out the ballot.”

While we don’t know what the election results will be in November, we can be sure that U-High students will be at the polls.