Friday, October 5, 2007

High School Students Working the Polls

In this year's legislation session, a bill that would allow 16 and 17 year old students to work as election clerks died. Students who are not yet old enough to vote would be trained and allowed to work and participate in elections.

I believe this is a great idea. Many students are excited about voting while they are taking government in high school, but are still too young to vote. They should be allowed to participate in some way, which may help the students to keep their interest. Only forty-two percent of 18 - 29 year old people voted in Texas. We ranked 46th in that category! There are only 50 states. That is ridiculous. I believe allowing students to participate and see what it is all about would encourage them to be more involved in their government. I was 16, turning 17 the day after the last presidential election, I was also taking government in High School at that time. My teacher really made the entire class feel that they needed to vote and be involved. I'm sure many of us would have volunteered to work at the polls. Maybe extra credit could even be offered. Or it could be a class project.

The only thing that I disagree with that was proposed is that the students will be required to work for graduation credit. The election only happens once every two years; there are too many problems that could go wrong with that.

One other point that was brought up in the article is that most of the people working those positions right now are elderly people. Once we loose that part of the population, there may not be enough volunteers to run the polls. Introducing students early is a good idea to ensure there will still be people who will volunteer in the future.

I hope this issue is brought up again in the next legislation as it is promised. Students need to realize the importance of voting. That's the only way we can change the government to pay attention to what we want and need, to what our issues are.

I found this article on the Austin American Statesman Website:


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