17-year-olds begin voting in Illinois

17-year-olds were able to vote for the first time in Illinois on Monday, March 3, 2014.

In Rock Island County, there are more than 150 17-year-olds who are registered to vote. The county says it’s goal is to register 200.

“I feel like it’s really going to make a difference,” said Jestanie Sims-Thomas, a Junior at Moline High School.

Jestanie is studying U.S. Government at Moline High School and is learning about presidents, policies, and voting. She says when she first heard she would be eligible to vote in the Illinois primary, she was ecstatic.

“It gives 17-year-olds and younger people a better opportunity to voice our opinions with the government,” Jestanie said.

One key issue for voters like Jestanie is education.

“I am in school now and I plan on going to college so education is of high importance to me,” she said.

Senior Braden Mosley agrees that making college more affordable is important.

“I think a lot of people are trying to figure out how they are going to pay for college,” Braden said.

While Braden says most of his tuition will be payed for through a baseball scholarship, he knows that not everyone has that luxury. That’s something he will keep in mind when he casts his vote.