With the 2020 Presidential election coming up on November 3, many people have been registering to vote to have a say in who the next president of the United States will be.
Stroudsburg High School’s Student Government has been working hard to register as many eligible members of the senior class as possible to vote. For the 2020 presidential election about 30 percent of the eligible senior class has been registered.
The effort made by the student government will not go without recognition. They are working towards achieving the Governors Civic Engagement Award. To earn the Silver Award, 65 percent of the senior class must be registered to vote. To earn the Gold Award, 85 percent of the senior class must be registered.
“We have a targeted voter registration list where we have all the seniors that will be able to vote,” said junior class president Jack Francis. “Each student gov. member was expected to sign up to email two people each and make sure they are registered to vote.”
Student Government officers have been going to students individually and going around to homerooms as well to get students to register. Two aspects of voter engagement that the student government is focusing on are voter registration and student poll worker recruiting.
Student poll workers are in high demand this year because many people in a high risk category for COVID-19 do not want to be out at the polls with a lot of other people. Student poll workers must be 17 years of age and have permission from their parents or guardians and their school principal.
“I have been doing voter registration for about three years at the high school, and I recognize that my strategy was really ineffective so I wanted to figure out how I could institutionalize voter registration efforts at our school so that it could exist after I was gone,” said senior Taha Vahanvaty, Student Chair to the Board.
The Student Government has a committee dedicated to registering students to vote. The engagement officers are senior Emily Rafikia, junior Dana Persaud, and sophomore Chris Hu.
“I’ve been registering people to vote with outside volunteering groups,” said Rafikia. “I truly believe it is important for the younger generation to vote because the younger generation could turn an election.”
The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award is presented by the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education. The award recognizes the effort of Pennsylvania high schools to inform and get students interacting with the process of voting.
“We plan on registering 100 percent of our eligible senior class by the May 2021 Primary election.” said Vahanvaty.
If the student government can reach its goal of registering 100 percent of eligible seniors, SHS will join the impressive list of Pennsylvania Gold award winners.
Something new with the award this year is the Student Showcase. Even if schools do not qualify to win the Gold or Silver Award, they can be recognized for their efforts in the Student Showcase. This is where schools can show fun, new ways of raising awareness of the importance of voting.
Even though most high school students are unable to vote in the November 3 election, it is still important to get involved and be informed.