Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Many teens turned off by political parties when they register to vote

Ashley Detore, 17, left, and Ana De La Guardia, 17, register to vote recently at Sickles High School. De La Guardia chose a party so that she can vote in primary elections.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Ashley Detore, 17, left, and Ana De La Guardia, 17, register to vote recently at Sickles High School. De La Guardia chose a party so that she can vote in primary elections.

TAMPA — The Sickles High School seniors streaming into the auditorium on a recent Thursday morning had a lot in common. Grouped together, sitting in the green, plastic pull down seats, they chatted about weekend outings and listened to music through headphones jammed into their ears.

Brought together to hear a pitch about voter registration, many of the 17- and 18-year-olds also shared the same reaction about committing to any political party: No thanks.

Some teens, like Matt Salinas, opted to not choose a party, and register with "no party affiliation," a choice that gives him freedom to change his mind.

"Basically, I'm open to both sides," the 17-year-old Hispanic senior said. "I'm open to both ideas to whatever they have to say at the time. I don't exactly know everything about each party and haven't done all the research I need to do yet — you can't just (pick a party) without knowing."

Sitting next to Salinas, Sergio Acuna —who is also 17 and identifies as Hispanic — said he also decided to register with no party affiliation. "(This way) I'm not just on one side," he said.

Their decision comes at a cost: They won't be able to vote in primary elections if not affiliated with a major party.

Ana De La Guardia , a 17-year-old senior, realized that when she opted to register as a Democrat.

"I registered with a party, but I don't really have an . . . affiliation, because I think parties (are) a bad thing," she said, but "in order to vote for whatever special elections, you have to have a party affiliation."

Other seniors who chose to register with a party did so for different reasons: They had strong opinions of their own or their parents' party affiliations influenced them or they just felt pressured to make a choice even if uncertain about their political beliefs.

Cynthia Ledesma, 18, said she felt a lot of teens pick NPA because they don't feel educated enough to make a choice.

"Education has everything to do with it," she said. "We don't (always) have the wisdom, or knowledge . . . on what either side offers, so that's why a lot of people choose to go without a party when they register."

Contact Hanna Marcus at hmarcus@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @hannaemarcus.

Many teens turned off by political parties when they register to vote 11/20/15 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2015 5:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  3. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.
  4. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.