Catlin Gabel Youth Voters and the Upcoming Election

By Sophie Peters '16

According to a CatlinSpeak survey, 77 percent of Catlin Gabel students who will be 18 by the time the election takes place are planning to vote.

In 2012, the number of young adults who voted fell from previous years. According to the United States Census Bureau, 45 percent of 18-to 29-year olds voted in the election compared to 72 percent of 65-year-olds and older.

Dana Ellis ’15 will be 18 by election day and is planning on voting because “this is the first time I have the power to have my opinion and my choices matter.”

(Photo: United States Census Bureau)

(Photo: United States Census Bureau)

Ellis also commented, “It is exciting knowing that I have power now in my future.”

An anonymous 18-year-old Catlin Gabel student stated they were not going to vote because they are, “busy with college apps, school, robotics, etc.” When asked if they are interested in any of the issues they said: “[I] Haven’t paid much attention. I haven’t heard of any issues that were exceptionally relevant to me.”

However, in comparison to this student, 72 percent of students who took the survey and will not be 18 in time are still following the issues on the ballot.

One student who won’t be able to vote until next year stated that they were not following any of the main issues in the election, saying, “I aim to educate and inform myself before the next election in order to accurately represent myself at the next election!”

Furthermore, 60 percent of students cited Measure 91 (allows possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana by/to adults, subject to state licensing, regulation, taxation) as being an issue on the 2014 ballot that they are interested in.

One anonymous student voting “yes” on Measure 91 states, “I believe one mistake should not dictate your entire future.”


Dana filling out her ballot for the 2014 election (Photo: Sophie Peters ’16)

In June 2014, SurveyUSA surveyed likely Oregon voters asking their opinion on marijuana legalization. Support for legalization was highest among 18- to 35- year old voters at 70 percent.

Only one student offered their take on Measure 90 (changes general election nomination processes: provides for single primary ballot listing candidates; top two advance), saying: “It would be a better idea for just independently registered voters to vote in the primary and not people who are already registered. This measure has been supported by a lot of big business. I believe that if this was passed there would not be a competitive vote between two parties, but instead two candidates who were given the most amount of money.”

Out of all the students, not one said they were interested in Measure 86 (amends Constitution: Requires creation of fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education, authorizes state indebtedness to finance fund) or Measure 87 (permits employment of state judges by National Guard [military service] and state public universities [teaching]).

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