Ridge Review

What is MRHS Doing to Encourage Students to Vote? Plus Voting Resources!

Kate Ourada, Head Editor

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Between the news, political ads on TV, and the increasing call to action all over social media, it is likely that you know that November is voting month. This year, despite it not being a presidential election year, marks a vital election. One third of the seats in the Senate, as well as all 435 in the House of Representatives are up for reelection, as well as hundreds of positions at the local level. Not only are there so many open positions, but this election will decide who controls Congress, either continuing the Republican hold on Washington or shifting it towards the Democratic party. No matter what you want the outcome to be, the only way to make that happen is to Vote on Tuesday, November 6. With the importance of such an election, we at the Ridge Review wondered exactly what Mountain Ridge is doing to encourage its eligible students to vote?

  The Government and Economics teachers at Ridge have been making a combined effort to spread the word about voting.

“We have been getting out the word for dates for registration when it came up in October. I used Remind to send out notifications to make sure the kids knew and encourage them not only to register themselves to vote if they’re old enough…but also to encourage their parents to vote too, ” said Mr. Rossi, a government and history teacher at Ridge.

Some teachers walked their class through how to register to vote via Service Arizona or put up Rock the Vote flyers in their classroom with the QR code to that ) website. They also put a reminder to vote on the marquee on 67th avenue. One of the major struggles of this is that most students are too young to vote in the 2018 elections.

“There just weren’t as many in every class, around maybe four, five at the very most of kids that turn 18 by this election…Usually by the time you get closer to graduation, most of the class, with a few exceptions, are 18 or the kids are close enough once we’re past this election that they can register ahead of time,” said Mrs. McElroy, AP Government and U.S history teacher.

Many students are also unaware that in Arizona, they can register to vote when they are 17, as long as they will be 18 by election day. The misconception that you have to be 18 to register has caused many students to fail to register to vote and unfortunately, Arizona is not one of the 15 states that allows you to register on the day of the election.

An additional barrier that students face for voting is that they do not know how. This less than 3 minute video can show you exactly what you need to do and provides you resources for finding all the places you can cast your vote, both in person, through the mail, or online.

Students may also feel as though they aren’t educated on the issues or politicians they would be voting for. There are plenty of unbiased resources for students to figure out how they want to vote. Voter education guides are some of the main non-partisan resources for planning your ballot. There are ones specifically for teens and young adults, as well as options for the general public.

Some voters may not know where their polling places are. Find your closest one here!

Don’t have a ride to your polling place? Uber is offering discounted rides to polling places all day on November 6th.  You can also find (and give!) rides to polling places through My Ride to Vote. Tons of other places will offer free or discounted offers for voting as long as you show your voter sticker! 

It feels wrong that so many students are apathetic toward voting, but with so many barriers that turn into easy excuses or honest reasons, it is unsurprising that they may feel this way. Part of a high school’s job is to ensure that its students leave with a greater understanding of their community, and by extension, the world and their responsibilities within it. Seeing as being involved in voting is one of the most direct ways to impact the community, schools should be providing their students with as many resources as possible to engage with the elections, both on a local and national level.

Mountain Ridge is planning on doing more to try to encourage it’s students to vote with an event that celebrates all those who register to vote in the spring when more of it’s student body will be able to. However, there is always room to grow and further expand the way MRHS can teach its students to engage in their community and take part in a vital civic duty.

Please remember to go vote on Tuesday, November 6th!

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What is MRHS Doing to Encourage Students to Vote? Plus Voting Resources!