Registering High School Students to Vote

By Terry Bermea, Dallas Regional Coordinator

As the 2017-2018 school year kicked off this Fall, so did our Student Voter Initiative (SVI) program! It has been a busy semester for us here in Dallas, as we continue to visit high schools all around Dallas County. Through our SVI program, we are able to engage high school seniors in the voter registration process. The best part is being able to show them how much of an impact they can have on our elections. SVI is not just about registering new voters, but about creating lifetime voters, changing the voting culture, and making sure students are woke.

We have been in nearly 30 schools this year and have talked to hundreds of students. On National Voter Registration Day, volunteers all over the county talked to students. SVI would be impossible without our amazing volunteers who take time out of their days to be part of this program. We’ve had so many great visits — here are some of the highlights from our volunteers:

Terry

“Teenagers at the schools can be fun, bored, silly, entertaining, uninformed or engaged; sometimes all in the same session. A leadership school for women stood out due to the special group of young women we met. These women come from diverse backgrounds, and it was incredible and impressive to hear that the entire 2017 graduating class was going to college with the exception of one girl, who is headed to the military instead. Registering aspiring students from all walks of life is inspirational as we encourage the voice of our next generation of voters. — Dorit

Being in a classroom with high school seniors is energizing in and of itself. When I observe them grasp the concept that their vote can be their power and voice, my faith in the process is strengthened. — Kelly

SVI volunteers speaking with students

I really enjoyed talking to high school students about voting and political participation. I think when you’re young, it’s difficult to feel heard or that you can change anything, and for a lot of students this is the first time they learn about the power they have. — Michelle

SVI volunteers

The teacher in me was geeking out about getting back into the classroom. The mock election is a great way to engage students. Oftentimes the issues on our ballots are very abstract and difficult for an 18-year-old to relate to. But when these students get to vote on an issue that they understand, they can see how it will affect them directly. This encourages them to become educated on all the issues they will vote on in the future. — Amy

We are excited to continue to expand our SVI program and we look forward to registering more new voters in 2018.

Can you support this work? Donate now to support our programs that register and engage young voters throughout Texas.