Students Start Voter Registration Process


A screenshot of the Kansas voter registration website. A link can be found in the article (photo credit H. Smith).

Hannah Smith, Copy Editor

By the time students are seniors, they have sat in class after class explaining to them that the U.S. is a democracy and what that means and why it’s so important that they vote, but usually they still have a few years before they will be able to put this into practice. However, every four years some lucky seniors get the chance to vote for the new President the same year they are learning about the creation of the government and what it means to be a citizen. 

“I am eager [to vote]. This is my first time voting and it’s a big thing for me [because] it’s my first big step in adulthood,” said Connor Salge, a registered voter, 12. 

But it’s more than just a step into adulthood. Alex Winkler, government teacher, considers it a civic responsibility. 

“On a simple scale they should register to vote because it’s a civic duty. A more complex answer to that is: a foundation of a representative democracy, which is what our government is, is founded upon citizen participation and civic virtue.  A virtuous group of citizens, citizens that are involved in a political process and are informed of the political process and what is going on in society, make a republic happen,” said Winkler. 

Some students really do feel this when it comes to this election in particular. 

“[Students should vote] because they need to,” said Salge. “This is probably going to be one of the most important elections of our lives, and if you can vote you should.” 

But before a citizen can vote they first have to register. 

“It’s actually really really simple. Thankfully we live in a modern society in the sense that we can do stuff on our computer. And all of us, thankfully, in this school distinct, are fortunate enough to have a computer and you can do online voter registration. You can get on and fill out online voter registration which can be done on the Kansas website. Obviously, you need a driver’s license or an ID card of some sort and then you can just submit that. Then you will be told that you are registered to vote,” said Winkler. “You can also go and print off a mail-in form and mail in an application, as well as go to an election office and sign up in person, but online is the fastest and easiest way to do that. Especially in today’s world where maybe you aren’t getting outside as much as you used to.” 

This is how Salge registered. 

I had to change my address on the DMV website anyway, so i did that and it gave me an option to register to vote, so i selected that and once I was done it took me to the registration page,” said Salge. 

After registering, it’s up to each student to look out for their voter card which will come in the mail, and gives them instructions on how to find their polling place and when they can vote.

But according to Winkler this is the easy part of participating in a representative democracy. 

“I think the most important thing, it goes beyond voting, it’s being informed. There is no use showing up to vote if you aren’t informed about what’s going on. And making the best decision that you feel most strongly about. Knowing what you believe and why you believe it and then choosing a candidate that you feel best represents what you stand for. Whether it’s on a local level, with a local or state representative… or even on a larger scale like the presidency. You have to know what you believe and why you believe and then go and make an informed decision…I implore students to go beyond just what the political party says or what their friends or family say,” said Winkler.

For many high schoolers, this is the first opportunity to be a “real adult” even if they’re already 18. Not only is it a sign of maturity, it is a duty and privilege to be able to vote for the leader of the country, and it is important to treat it as such.

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