In preparation for Election Day (Tuesday), a Colusa High School senior helped pre-register some of her fellow classmates.
Sophie Keenan, 17, held a voter registration drive on Oct. 16 as part of her senior project.
“I just had kids sign up and register to vote after school,” Keenan said. “… I gave them a presentation … what a proposition is and things that are relevant to where we live.”
She advertised the voter drive to people who are 16 and up, because that’s the age requirement to preregister.
There were 22 people who completed the registration forms, she said. Some other people came but they were either too young to register or didn’t have their drivers license number – in which case they were given a form to fill out on their own time.
In addition, Keenan also worked at the polls on election day.
Michael West, superintendent of schools in Colusa County, has been her mentor on the project.
West said Keenan came to him saying she was really interested in being involved in the political process and decided she wanted to work at the polls.
“They’re always looking for volunteers,” he said. “It’s difficult finding poll workers.”
West said more young people should be able to converse with each other and give their opinions without worrying about being judged on norms. And young politicians, like those involved in ASB or FFA, need to stay involved and see how their experience transitions in local, county, state and federal government.
“It comes down to if they want to be involved,” he said. “If they want to have an impact on their future, it’s important for people to understand that voting is our one chance to have our views heard.”
He said he doesn’t want people to have the mindset of “it’s only one vote.”
“We need to get those voices heard and the voting process is one way that does that,” West said.
Keenan said there are a lot of older politicians, which is one reason that some young people aren’t interested in politics.
“I think it’s so important for my generation because we live in such a different day and age than those older,” Keenan said. “… I feel like we have a different perspective.”
She said part of the reason behind holding an educational presentation was because she was never told the basics of how to vote, but it’s also important to be an informed voter.
Keenan also plans on giving the presentation next semester.
For the rest of her senior project, she said she has to write her essay, which will include statistics of who votes and who doesn’t, including where they live, age, political party and why that makes an impact.