Clubs encourage voter registration

Manal Salim

A chance to register: Posters advertise Young Democrats, one club with a plan to assist students in registering to vote by the November presidential election. Young Democrats hopes to recruit new student voters and increase the student voting population.
Election Day is an opportunity for 18-year-olds to express their new adult privileges. However, only 20.9 percent of young people eligible to vote cast ballots in presidential elections. For that reason, RBHS’ Young Democrats club plans to set up a registration booth in the school commons.
Though the project is in its preliminary stages, Young Democrats’ co-president junior Sam Ryan said the club hopes to run the booth near the time of the presidential election to encourage voting in the upcoming presidential election.
“We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of our nation’s wonderful democratic system by voting, which in order to do they must be registered,” Ryan said. “It’s a small step in trying to get more people to go out on voting day.”
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), youth voter registration rates are much lower than older age groups. As a result, guiding youth through the registration process is one potential step to closing the gap.
The lower turnout of young voters disappoints Boone County Clerk Wendy S. Noren, conductor of elections in Boone County. Noren is supportive of the idea to promote registration, which will conclude Oct. 10 in the high schools.
“It’s good to get in the habit now,” Noren said. “I think it’s a great service that young people are encouraging their peers to vote.”
Voting allows for citizens to make an impact on the country. Senior Jude El-Buri said her voice can be heard through voting and the swiftness of the process inspires her to register.
“I’ve been waiting for the day that I could say ‘I voted’ and wear those little ‘I voted’ stickers,” El-Buri said. “The fact that [voter registration will be] set up in the commons and registration is so easily at our disposal is really encouraging to me.”
Though Young Democrats is spearheading the program, political affiliation is not encouraged one way or the other. Ryan said the main goal of the booth is just to register as many eligible voters as possible before election day.
“All of the presidents of Young Democrats agree that in order for our country to prosper in its democratic system, this system must be used,” Ryan said. “We hope people will understand this and register and, hopefully, then go vote.”
By Manal Salim