Students can start the process of exercising their constitutional responsibility to vote March 17, 18, and 19 at lunch.
Sophomore Catherine Blumhagen has been instrumental in the organization of a voter registration drive to encourage students to engage in the democratic process.
“It is important for students to register to vote to have more of a role in their government and the policies that will affect them,” she says. “Voting is the best way for younger people to [influence] policies, such as [those regarding] education, which directly affect the youth. It is a privilege that some US residents and people in other countries don’t have.”
Through Montgomery County’s Future Vote initiative, Blumhagen has partnered with MCPS, Blake, and the Board of Elections to set up this annual voter registration drive. Every year, these drives attract hundreds of students excited to participate in democracy.
Senate Bill 934, if passed, could have allowed students to organize their own drives, meaning more frequent opportunities to empower students to take advantage of their rights. However, the bill died last year in the state legislature. From gun violence to climate change, students protest to speak out against a slew of issues, in part because they are not old enough to vote.
While registering to vote does not mean students younger than 18 will be able to immediately make a difference in the polling booth, students would be taking the first step towards that end goal.
Students aged 16 or older who are US citizens are eligible for voter registration. If students 18 years or older wish to vote in the upcoming primary elections, they must declare a political party upon registration.
At lunch on one of the three dates above, interested students can fill out a form. Students must have the last four digits of their social security numbers or a driver’s license/permit.
If eligible students do not have time to pick up a form at lunch, they can text “Vote” to 777-88 to acquire an online form.
Students who register to vote can also assist with elections, which are great opportunities for students to earn money or SSL hours as well as have another bullet point for their college resume. Students wanting to become involved with registration drives can also reach out to the Board of Elections staff.
Consider registering to vote March 17, 18, or 19. As the saying goes, “democracy is not a spectator sport.”