Students register to vote for upcoming election

November 6 is election day across the country. There are 435 empty seats available in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate along with many statewide and local positions. Those 18 or older and who are registered are eligible to take part in the election have been encouraged to vote.

“It’s important for younger people to get more involved in politics,” senior Parker Adams said. “Some people think it’s too much work to get registered, but the school made it easy for us to do so our voices can be heard.”

The Brazos Valley Voter Registrar set up a table in the cafeteria for students to register to vote streamlining the process for new voters.

“Registrars had the form ready to go, and students just had to have certain vital pieces of information such as their address and driver’s license,” student council sponsor John Anderson said. “It was a fairly painless process.”
Voting allows young people to actively participate in their community and express themselves and their perspectives.

“If students want change to happen in their favor, not people who are over the age of fifty or thirty, then they need to get out and make their voice heard and let those things be known,” Anderson said. “I want students to understand the importance of voting, what the process is, and how painless it really is to have their voices heard.”

Because the voting age is 18, some seniors are eligible to cast their ballot. However, even if a student is not of age for this election, the chance to vote is not that far away.

“Students need to be ready for their opportunity,” Anderson said. “Half of the senior class will be able to vote after this current election, and once they’re registered to vote, they’re registered to vote. All they have to do is change their address if they move.”

Estimates show that 117 million people did not vote in the 2016 election despite already being registered, so the school wants to assist with civic education and get students to the polls after they register to vote.

“Students are getting ready for the next step,” government teacher David Wilson said. “I think voting empowers them. We know statistically that students are more likely to vote after their government class and then they tend to go back down. We’re hoping to start a lifelong activity.”

The majority of high school students are not old enough to vote, but providing opportunities to register to vote for students who are old enough provides a framework to educate the future.

“Even though I’m not old enough to vote yet,” senior Anna Beth Mayerhoff said, “I think it’s important that the school participates in voter registration for seniors. This makes students feel like they are important to the civic process and encourages them to vote.”