A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Students register to vote

This week in the lobby, the Colorado Democracy Challenge came to LHS to help students register to vote.

Any students 16 or older were able to receive help and guidance in the process. Many students signed up during off periods, during lunches, and before and after school.  

“I think a lot of students aren’t voting because it seems like a foreign process, and because students don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about politics, and they don’t realize that as a student their vote can make a big difference. Having [registration] in the lobby brought the process to the school, so you don’t have to go out of your way to register which simplified it,” said junior John Krankota.

In addition to the Colorado Democracy Challenge, technology has played a key role in encouraging students to vote as well. Both Instagram and Snapchat partnered with TurboVote, allowing users to register in minutes. Additionally, Twitter launched a #beavoter campaign.

“I feel like highschool students are way more savvy about that type of thing now than they used to be. I think with the evolution of social media that’s helped a lot too. I think there is a lot of momentum with your generation, which I think is really exciting to watch,” said Colorado Democracy Challenge employee Noelle Truheart.

“I think it’s a good thing for schools to help students be aware of how to participate in the process and so you can do that through classes like civics, and history classes, and science and others too, and there you can show the impact of how it’s played out in history,” said LHS history teacher James Gordon.

Although a large population of students at LHS are currently ineligible to register, the effort is one of many steps in addition to classes such as civics and seminar to prepare students for life after High School.

“There’s a lot of really important issues that we need to be voting on, a lot of things that are going on in our country that are threatening people’s lives, and people’s well-being, and people’s safety, and if you just sit back and relax and don’t do anything about it nothing is going to change; and I think young people are going to be an instrumental part in creating a society that we don’t have, that we should have,” said Colorado Democracy Challenge employee  Duncan Gilchrist.

Several have pointed to activism against gun violence associated with the March for our Lives, especially after the Parkland shooting, as sparking a rise in civic engagement among young people.

“Just seeing a lot of teenagers rise to the occasion of organizing major events like the Parkland students in Florida and organizing major initiatives for social change. That’s huge, that’s unprecedented. I’ve never heard of teenagers doing anything like that before, so that’s exciting,” said Truheart.

Throughout the week students were asking each other if they had registered to vote, telling each other about the table in the lobby. Politically committee members in particular were especially enthusiastic about encouraging friends and classmates to vote.

November 6, many young people will use their vote for the first time to make their voice heard.