News’s impact on GBHS seniors’ voting decisions


Kate Rowberry

The GBHS library, which is a polling place, is welcoming community members to vote.

Many Granite Bay High School seniors had their first experience voting in a US election this month and weighed the effects of news consumption and ads on their voting choices.

The November 8 ballot included the election of the California governor, congressional representatives and RJUHSD school board members. Propositions covered issues such as sports betting, the sale of flavored tobacco products and more. Students at GBHS had the opportunity to vote on campus on Election Day with a polling station set up in the library.

Students researched the issues and candidates, and shared that they turned to a number of sources from CNN and Reddit to international news organizations to seek out information. Nationally Gen Z and millennial voters collectively turned to CNN, The New York Times and Twitter most frequently.

“I feel like it would be ignorant to be able to vote and not know what I’m actually voting for. So I did a lot of my own research,” senior Hannah Austin said. “I’m a first time voter and I went to both Republican and Democrat sides because I want to get opinions from everyone. I (also) look for things that are based on accurate statistics.”

GBHS students also chimed in on the discussion of biased news and political ads that echoes throughout the nation every election year.

Eddie Sheehy, a senior at GBHS, was primarily exposed to the school board elections because of his family’s involvement; his dad, Andy Sheehy, serves on the Eureka Union School Board. Eddie Sheehy encourages others to gain knowledge by experiencing discussions of current events and activism first-hand rather than through second-hand sources.

“The difference between news and ads shortens almost every year as news becomes more and more biased. News is getting to the point where instead of giving out information they’re trying to persuade you; an ad is doing the same,” Sheehy said.

Bear Newman, another GBHS senior who also voted in this month’s election, commented that election ads and news sources are equally persuasive.

“It takes me a lot longer and it takes like actual brain power for you to consume articles. The ads are basically political cheap shots with less actual information, but persuasive because of how they are presented, whereas news stories are persuasive because of the high volume of information..… I think international news looking at the US tends to be more reliable because they have less stake in what goes on in these elections,” he said.

The Gen Z voting pool has distinctive demographic characteristics. It is more racially diverse than previous generations, with 22% of eligible voters identifying as Hispanic. As a whole, Gen Z tended toward voting Democrat in the 2022 election with 71% of women and 53% of men voting for Democratic House candidates.

Additionally, among Gen Z, 95% of LGBTQ+ voters, 87% of Black voters, and 67% of Hispanic voters reportedly cast their ballots for Democrats.

Advocating for these groups was a priority for GBHS senior Aiden Crawford when considering his voting decisions.

“I was thinking about all the friends who I love so very much, and how a lot of these politicians actively work against their rights. I have LGBTQ+ friends, I have mixed race friends and Asian friends, and I thought about all of them. And I was like, wow, I do not understand how anybody could be against their basic rights and their right to exist and be respected,” Crawford said.

The latest update on election results were released on Tuesday, November 29.