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    Students Lead Youth Voter Campaigns Throughout the District
    Posted on 03/05/2019
    Three students stand a table set up in a cafeteria for voter registration

    Students Lead Youth Voter Campaigns Throughout the District

    Students at several Seattle high schools commemorated Temperance and Good Citizenship Day (Jan. 16) by staging youth voter registration events throughout the latter half of January. Leading up to the events, students dedicated hours to making voting signs, rallying support throughout the school using campaigns, and collecting pledges.

    Foundry 10 and King County Office of Elections partnered with students on building out compelling social media campaigns and helping them understand the components behind an election. The high schools that participated and rallied youth to pledge to vote were: Ballard, Cleveland, Nathan Hale, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle.

    As part of the preparation, students gathered at the central district office in December and spent one Saturday working in school teams with the community partners. They returned to their individual schools and began the planning process by assembling project teams with the support of their social studies teachers and school administrators.

    On Jan. 16, at Rainier Beach High School, a team of four students set up tables by the cafeteria and greeted each incoming and outgoing student by asking if they were interested in voter registration. “I’m not 18 though,” said one student. “It’s ok! You can pledge to vote now,” answered Kidist, sophomore, and a member of the Youth Voter Registration Project at the school. She gestured him to the sign-up table and offered him a piece of chocolate for signing up.

    “This is way bigger than I thought,” said Angelina as she glanced over the students in the cafeteria. “It’s hard to get students to be a part of things sometimes that doesn’t include sports. Kidist thought about the candy incentive, which turned out to be a great idea. I’m just so happy to see all these people coming together to pledge their vote with so much energy and opinions on society,”

    Elizabeth, a sophomore, added, “Registering is the next step to actually voting. You realize you’ve grown up, and now you can make decisions that can affect your community. If you spot problems, now, you can address them.” Angelina wants to encourage her fellow youth to speak up, as she believes in the power of youth voice and its impacts, “The youth are the future. We hear this all the time. If we aren’t using our voice, what does that entail for our future?”

    The team from West Seattle High School participating in the youth voter registration campaign are passionate about civic issues, such as gun control, and are members of the Gun Violence Prevention Club. Keaton, Erica, Josiah, Louise, and Jack want their fellow youth to understand the importance of youth voice and how it will impact the future.

    Keaton said that youth understanding the power of their voice in the voting process is vital. “We’re the future of America. We’ll be voting in 2020. I am excited for the opportunity for my voice to be heard. Youth voices will give attention to issues that we care about.”