NewsElection Watch


17 year-olds vote in presidential primary for the first time

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 03, 2020

COLORADO — Colorado's first primary since 2000 came with some other firsts for the state. Among them, this is the first time 17-year-olds can vote in the primary, provided they turn 18 by the general election in November.

"It was super exciting," said Zoe Alvarez, a senior at Rampart High School who voted in this primary election, "I didn't actually know I could vote because I wasn't 18 yet so I was kind of confused."

Alvarez is one of about 24,000 17-year-olds the Secretary of State's office says was eligible to vote in this primary.

As of the night before Super Tuesday, about 3,300 17-year-olds had turned in their ballots.

"Interest is a little bit more peaked," said Robert Brown, a Social Studies and Civics teacher at Rampart. While Brown mainly teaches the freshman class, even those students are showing an interest in the election.

Some of them, such as Olivia Alaska and Evie Ryan say they're enjoying the class because there's more discussions and they can get answers to questions they have about the process.

"I kind of question how someone can choose one person," said Alaska.

Ryan agreed "it's kind of hard because there's not necessarily a perfect candidate sometimes."

Alvarez says she wanted to vote for a candidate that had a passion for certain issues she cares about. One of the main issues she was looking for was climate change and environmental causes. Alvarez believes it's something many of her peers are passionate about.

When it comes to voting, Alvarez said those of her fellow classmates who were eligible to vote had mixed feelings.

"It was interesting because half of them are like super excited that they get to vote but then the other half of them didn't vote at all because they didn't like the candidates or they didn't feel like their vote mattered," said Alvarez.