Voting registration on campus

 

Voting is an important part of the American democracy, but often there is little participation from students due to their belief that one vote will not matter. American Government teacher Matt Malkovich set about changing that by promoting voter registration.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, members from Seminole County’s Supervisor of Elections department arrived in the auditorium to facilitate voter registration with seniors in their government and economics classes.

Malkovich, alongside social studies teachers William Bordelon, Isiah Cabal and Adam Stansbury, coordinated the event with Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel.

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This event began five years ago under the guidance of the school’s current social studies teachers and has continued annually.

“We wanted a way to engage civic responsibility,” Malkovich said. “Now, students don’t have the excuse ‘I’m not registered to vote.’”

Registration was arranged by coordinating the schedules of Malkovich and Ertel to make sure the maximum number of students would be available, barring other complications. Traditionally, it is organized in a semester where the department is not as busy. In the upcoming spring, there are the primaries, an election where each party’s candidate is selected, and then in the fall, there will the presidential election.

“I was really excited because finally what I think now has a say and I can change our community and our world,” senior Morgan Snoap said.

Upon arrival in the auditorium, students were handed a pamphlet to fill out with information such as driver license number, birth-date and party affiliation. Students under 18 were able to pre-register, which would automatically them on their 18th birthday.

“It was great that Hagerty took the initiative to bring [out] Seminole County elections so we could all register,” senior James Neal said.

With the upcoming presidential elections, there has been a rise of interest in politics among students.

“[More students] actually watch the debates because they know that even though there are electoral colleges and it’s not a direct vote, their vote still matters,” senior Hannah Vanburen said.

One of the issues discussed was participation. Traditionally, there is a lack of voter participation from young adults.

“If we want to change that, then we need to do something,” Neal said.

Seniors were also invited to share their own view-point on current laws they believe should be changed, as well as other current events within the school district and system.

“It’s interesting to see what students think around this time of their lives,” Malkovich said.

Then, through a phone call, seniors received the chance to talk and ask school board chairman Tina Calderone questions about the school district.

“If we want to change anything, things need to start locally and once they start locally, they can spread nationally,” Neal said.

The next voter registration will occur in spring of 2017, after the 2016 presidential elections.

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