High school seniors won’t graduate until next spring, but a good number of them will graduate into a fuller stage of citizenship six weeks from Tuesday.
Students who are 18, or will be by Election Day on November 6, will be eligible to vote for the first time, provided they bother to register.
That’s why National Voter Registration Day, the 4th Tuesday of every September, was again observed in DMPS high schools.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Ahart sent an email of encouragement to more than 1,400 district students who are potential new voters with information on how to register.
Student leaders at both Hoover and Lincoln volunteered to man registration tables during lunch periods at those schools and sign up their classmates.
At Hoover, senior student council representative Karli Benson, who happens also to be a state champ softball player, was as eager to sign up classmates as she is to vote herself.
“Oh yeah, I can’t wait,” she said. “There’s a certain someone I don’t necessarily agree with and I’m anxious to get involved.”
The emphasis was on participation, not partisanship, so she didn’t name names, but Benson is a self-described activist who coordinated Hoover’s participation in a national student protest against gun violence last year. She takes citizenship seriously. AP Government is on her class schedule, and she said the course syllabus includes role-playing exercises where students will put themselves in positions like lawmaker, journalist and candidate for mock elections. But six weeks from Tuesday, she’ll cast herself in the real life role of card-carrying voter.
Clear across town at Lincoln, the registration table was set up beneath a banner decorated by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, a perfect backdrop for Tuesday’s activity.
Naomi Williams, a member of the Senior Board, was one of the registrars for the second year in a row. But this time, there’s a different feel to it.
“Yes, I’m already registered and I’m 18,” she said. “And yes, I definitely plan to vote.”
So does senior Joshlynn Frost, who stopped at the table to do the paperwork that includes the voter’s oath:
I, the undersigned Registrant, do solemnly swear or affirm the following: I am the person named below; I live at the address below; I do not claim the right to vote anywhere else; I have not voted and will not vote in any other precinct in this election.
Frost’s registration was like signing an official receipt for a birthday present.
“I just turned 18 last Saturday,” she said. “I think voting’s important. We get to decide who’s in charge.”
A good reminder for anyone, regardless of age, who might have forgotten – or just wasn’t so sure if that’s true anymore.
Another one is that you can register right up to November 6, even at the polls on Election Day.
HOW TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN IOWA
To register to vote in Iowa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be a resident of the state of Iowa;
- Be 18 years old by Election Day (November 6, 2018).
It is a quick and simple process. In fact, if you have a driver’s license, you can do so online. First, visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s web site. If you have a driver’s license, click the “Online Voter Registration” box and complete the online form. If you do not have a driver’s license, click “Download a Voter Registration Form,” complete the form, and drop it in the mail.