By Alex Malm
If the candidates in the Democratic debate were under the impression that people who cannot vote are not politically engaged, they thought wrong.
The first and only Democratic debate held in New Hampshire takes place tonight at Saint Anselm College and despite the sudden drop in temperatures many came to the Manchester campus to show their support for the candidate they plan to vote for in the First-in-the-Nation Primary.
While politicians are on the road campaigning across the country, from town hall meetings, to house parties, to televised debates they may be missing a key location to on the campaign trail: elementary and high schools. As Stone Shu, a member of the Scholastic Kids program that does audio interviews with different people says, “My crazy friend pretty much got my whole grade interested in politics.”
It is unusual to find kids at the young age of 11, years away from being eligible to vote, so interested in and involved with politics even with only 57.5 % of the population voting in the 2012 general election.
With the issue of college affordability being a hot topic in this election season, a high school student (who asked not to be mentioned by name) was willing to stand in cold weather for hours, even though she cannot cast a vote in the general or primary election.
One candidate the high school student believes has the best plan for education affordability is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She said, “A lot of kids can’t afford to go to college but I believe Hillary Clinton has best chance to change that.” And if standing in the cold does not count enough towards her civic engagement duty, she hopes to create a political group on her high school campus to raise awareness around the Presidential election.
So, while politicians this election season fight hard for votes they should also pay attention to a demographic not represented in any poll: young people without a vote but with a voice. New Hampshire’s primary is scheduled for February 9, 2016.