CHARLES CITY, Iowa - Over 230 Iowa schools and 50,000 students are participating in this year's Youth Straw Poll.
Students cast ballots in a mock election, voting for their favorite candidates in Iowa's gubernatorial and U.S. Congress races.
One of the schools participating is Charles City High School.
Christian Kreger is a senior and 18 years old, and has been spreading the word about the straw poll.
"The vote is the most powerful tool that you we have. So I think people are feeling that it's a need to go out and vote and we do have a question on the survey 'Are you 18 and will you register to vote when you're 18?' And so far, everybody has said yes."
He says that if you have the right to vote, use it.
"I believe you should get out and get your opinion heard because if you don't, then you don't really have a right to complain in my opinion."
Nathan Shultz is a junior, and while he's not yet eligible to vote next week, he does intend on registering to vote in 2020. He says the poll is helping students understand what to expect when they head to the polls.
"Our teachers are working to make sure we're informed. It doesn't matter which way they look on politics it's just they want you to know each side of the story and what they stand for."
Shultz remembers the 2016 election vividly.
"That election was just so huge, you were involved in it anyway. I feel like the class I had in 8th grade in social studies with Mr. Rahmiller, we really talked about the issues and we did it on both sides."
Robert Pittman's social studies classes are participating in the straw poll, considering as a valuable educational opportunity, and has noticed how the results from the poll can sometimes mirror results at the polls.
"Sometimes it has over the years shown trends, but sometimes it's been slightly different. If you think about what you were able to see today, students actually sat down, looked at several issues connected to them, looked at every viewpoint the candidate has said about that, and then formulated their opinion."
and with the amount of students taking part, as well as a rise in civic participation around the state, he predicts we could someday see the legal age of voters lowered to 16 years old.
"It's very much actually a growing trend across the country where kids are like, 'I pay taxes, I know what's going on in politics, why don't I have the right to vote?'"
Pittman wants to add one thing for those who haven't decided to vote yet:
"Go out and vote next week."
The results of the straw poll at Charles City High School include:
For Governor: Reynolds/Gregg - 87, Hubbell/Hart - 93, Porter - 7, and Seigwarth - 11.
For U.S. House of Representatives: King - 65, Scholten - 123, Aldrich - 3, Peterson - 7
Also included was the question of 'Will you vote when you are 18?' 174 responded with Yes, and 24 responded with No.
For statewide results of the straw poll, click here for the Secretary of State's website. (Results are updated in real time.)
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