Turning Out: The Youth Vote Logo

Teen reporters from the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs across the country captured how teens feel about voting and elections. From Miami, Florida to Bozeman, Montana, student journalists in 28 states conducted over 300 interviews, including some with elected officials and young political leaders. These stories tackle topics like lowering the voting age to 16 and how first-time voters are being mobilized in battleground states like Florida.


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  • Bozeman, Montana

    Montana PBS

    "I think that young people don't vote because they feel like we can't make an impact, which I think is wrong, I think we can if we all voted."

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  • Lebanon, Pennsylvania

    Cedar Crest High School

    "I think a lot of the time, we treat voting as like, that's for the real adults. Like, I still have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. It's probably not really clicking in my brain that I can vote."

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  • Apex, North Carolina

    Middle Creek High School

    "I'm trying to make a point to learn a little more on who represents me and the state of North Carolina."

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  • Black River Falls, Wisconsin

    Black River Falls High School

    "We need to definitely spread the truth and spread what is right and...find somebody who represents you well. By the time I get to be able to vote, I hope to be very much informed about who I'm going to be voting for."

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  • Pflugerville, Texas

    Pflugerville High School

    "Voting registration often caters to older people who don't have anything to do during the day. Whereas younger people always have college or part time jobs or full time jobs, or they have homework to do or exams to study for. So... why would I waste precious time going towards my degree by voting?"

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  • Clinton, Arkansas

    Clinton High School

    "I feel like the people that don’t vote but complain about who get put in office are the real reason why the country can’t be fully successful."

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  • Sterling, Virginia

    Dominion High School

    "My ancestors didn't get to vote, and they didn't get a say of how their lives were spent. And I really don't want to take their their suffering in vain."

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  • Fort Mill, South Carolina

    Fort Mill High School

    "If I had the right to vote right now, I would definitely research the candidates because I feel it's people's civil duty to find out which candidate is best for them and best suites their political views."

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  • Kahului, Hawaii

    Maui High School

    ""I am one of those 18-year-olds that do not go to polls to vote.""

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  • Waterville, Maine

    Mid-Maine Technical Center

    "I believe 18 year-olds don't go to vote because they are still trying to figure out what it is they are going to vote on."

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  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Pine Crest School

    "I feel like our generation is going to be the first generation that actually disconnects to their family's values."

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  • Edmond, Oklahoma

    Santa Fe High School

    "...the only measure we really have in our society, because we are an indirect democracy, is to vote."

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  • Sidman, Pennsylvania

    Forest Hills High School

    "I think that to get younger kids to vote, it would be more implementing that into the classroom and teaching them, these are the candidates, these are their views. And just plain teaching them how to vote, like a lot of people don't know how to register to vote, where to go to vote."

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  • Oakland, California

    Oakland Military Institute

    "A common misunderstanding is that young people are often swayed by what their parents think or what crucial figures in their live think. We've seen that the young person actually votes differently from their parents, they're not always going to be impacted by what people say."

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  • Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

    Wauwatosa East High School

    "I think I will seek out information about those running because I think it’s important to really know who you’re voting for, really know what you’re voting for, so that when it comes time to vote you actually know what your decision is instead of just voting blindly for whoever might you think might follow your political beliefs."

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  • Lake Balboa, California

    Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

    "Young people are least likely to vote because they either don’t think it’s important or if they do they don’t know who to vote for because they don’t have the information."

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  • San Antonio, Texas

    Communications Arts High School

    "A lot of younger people are confused about the electoral college and they don't understand that in some of the smaller elections, it is by population vote."

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  • Knoxville, Tennessee

    Smoky Mountain Youth Media

    "I feel like people will only vote specifically for a certain party and they kind of just align their views with that party and don't really think for themselves."

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  • Hartford, Connecticut

    Journalism and Media Academy

    "Democracy is very needed so that everybody can feel like they have no part in what's going on where they live. I feel that even though I'm just one person in a big community it still makes an impact on what I can see in that community."

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  • Clinton, Maryland

    Surrattsville High School

    "Make voting mobile. Our generation is so technology-driven that if voting were literally at our finger tips then that's an initiative to get all young people to vote."

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  • Royal Oak, Michigan

    Royal Oak High School

    "I am planning to vote, because if I do not vote, who will vote for me?"

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  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Mayfair Laboratory School

    "I think voting matters because it chooses the people that lead us."

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  • San Mateo, California

    Aragon High School

    "I think people are afraid to speak up about who they voted for because if they say who they voted for and somebody doesn't agree with them, they could be stigmatized."

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  • Escondido, California

    Escondido High School

    "I think more positive candidates that actually want to make change, and that will actually make change happen in a positive direction, will encourage me to vote."

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  • Rancho Cucamonga, California

    Etiwanda High School

    "I think that media focuses a lot more on things nationwide... but I don't think that people really care as much on local stuff such as mayors and sheriffs that we vote for."

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  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Franklin Learning Center

    "[Voting] makes a difference, not only in national elections like a midterm election, but also our local and state levels because elections are won by a single vote all the time."

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  • Upper Marlboro, Maryland

    Frederick Douglass High School

    "I feel like they don't go [to vote] because they feel like it's tedious. Some out of the box ideas that would get them to go would be if it was more simple, such as having an app on their phone."

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  • Clarksburg, Maryland

    Hallie Wells Middle School

    "I believe voting is important because there are many people in the world that don't have the right to vote so I believe we should take advantage of the fact that we can vote."

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  • Silver Spring, Maryland

    John F. Kennedy High School

    "The assumption is that young students are not mature enough, and I think that's incorrect. Our youth are very engaged. They're very sophisticated thinkers."

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  • San Fernando, California

    Social Justice Humanitas Academy

    "Coming from a minority group, I feel like many think that because we're a minority, that our voices aren’t heard. But it's important for us to voice them. And although It doesn't seem like it, we are making a change little by little."

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  • Covina, California

    Northview High School

    "Young people don’t seem to think they have a voice and that it’ll take any effect because, just through everything we've done, nothing seems to be really happening."

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  • Ontario, California

    Ontario High School

    "We can encourage young voters to vote by implementing places to vote that are more convenient to youth voters."

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  • Valencia, California

    West Ranch High School

    "When it comes down to it, lowering the voting age is sort of a tricky issue because you have kids who aren’t put in the political environments they need to be exposed to to formulate their own opinions.They’re not put in [situations] where free speech is a matter of concern or tax is a matter of concern. So instead of formulating opinions based on their own experience, they turn to social media or the authority figures in their life."

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  • San Diego, California

    Westview High School

    "Younger people...don't really care about policies that much. As a politician, if you would like to gain more votes from the younger voting bloc, it's important to focus on your personality."

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  • Greenville, South Carolina

    Legacy Early College High School

    "Voting is your best bet to see your country go further...at the end of the day, if you want to be positive or optimistic, politics is all about making your country better and everyone has a different idea of how to do that."

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  • Salt Lake City, Utah

    Judge Memorial Catholic High School

    "My government teacher can remember the first time [Utah Senator Orrin Hatch] was actually elected. That was a long time ago. So we need more young people voting, so that there is more turnover, there are more ideas going through Congress."

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  • Abingdon, Illinois

    Abingdon-Avon High School

    "It's important that everyone's opinion and everyone's vote gets put in because it is a democracy. I think it's also important to people so they feel like they have some sort of say as to what goes on in the government."

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  • Miami, Florida

    Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School

    "If there is something in the society that you live in today that you don't like, that you think can be better, voting is a way to see that change."

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  • Blackstone, Massachusetts

    Blackstone Millville Regional High School

    "If there is something in the society that you live in today that you don't like, that you think can be better, voting is a way to see that change."

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  • Bloomington, Indiana

    Jackson Creek Middle School

    "I think younger kids should know more about our elections because when they get older they need a say in our Congress."

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  • Rexburg, Idaho

    Madison High School

    "When people don't vote, it's the select few that do have a say. So, if a select few want a certain policy and you're completely against that policy, it's going to be enacted if you don't go and vote and have what you would like to be said."

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  • Miami, Florida

    Miami Country Day School

    "I think that voting is definitely...one of the most important things an American citizen can do. The democratic process is based on the participation of the people, and how the people participate is through voting. So I think it's necessary in order to have our democracy."

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  • Gastonia, North Carolina

    Forestview High School

    "I think that young people don’t vote because a lot of times they are discouraged about their ideas and opinions, especially by the older population."

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  • Morgantown, West Virginia

    Morgantown High School

    "Young people...are not prioritized as an audience that people want as a voting base and are often told that, like, their voice doesn’t matter, so they just don’t vote."

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  • Little Rock, Arkansas

    Hall High School

    "I feel like adults don't see the perspective from young people."

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  • Cottonwood Heights, Utah

    Brighton High School

    "I didn't really realize the importance of [voting] until the Parkland shooting...and there was an emphasis on getting out and voting to change legislation."

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  • Omaha, Nebraska

    Omaha North Magnet High School

    "I do think going [to vote] matters because every politician is different, they have different views and stuff. So, electing the right one would change a lot of things."

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  • South Charleston, West Virginia

    South Charleston High School

    "I believe that voting is extremely important because it actually gives just normal everyday people a voice to change society."

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