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High school seniors get ready to vote

Every year on election day, a new group of people becomes eligible to vote. After years of watching the process, high school seniors and recent graduates finally have a say in who is elected.

Local high schools encourage and promote new voter participation by offering students the chance to register during school.

“Ladies from the voting registrar from down the street will set up two tables in front of the school in the spring,” Glen Strickland, Osbourn High School social studies teacher, said. “Anyone who will be 18 in time for the next election will be able to register to vote.”

Other schools use similar methods to get new voters registered and ready in time for election day.

“At Osbourn Park High School, students in their government class registered. Unfortunately, I took government sophomore year at Stonewall [Jackson] High School, so I wasn’t able to register through the school,” Lisa Apted, a 2011 Osbourn Park graduate, said.

However, Apted got an opportunity to register during her first week of college. “At William and Mary, they gave us information about registering at orientation because we need to be registered in the area,” Apted said.
School systems take an active role in preparing students to vote so when elections roll around they have all the paper work done.

When it comes to how these new voters choose their candidates, that is a whole new story.

“I follow politicians on Twitter,” Matt Springer, a senior and co-president of Osbourn High School’s Young Democrats, said. “My main sources are news networks though such as CNN, Fox News and the Congressional Website.”

Springer is active in politics. “In the 2008 election, I was a voter page. I assisted at the voting poles. My main duty was to make sure campaigners were at least 50 feet away” from the polling place entrance, which is required by law, Springer explained. He also helped work a phone bank for a democratic candidate, who ultimately lost the election.

Other seniors tend to play a less-active role in politics. However, as students turn 18, their views on elections tend to change.

“I plan to vote if I am able to register in time,” Julie Dalton, an Osbourn High School senior, said. “I just turned 18 and was unaware I could have registered last year at our school as a junior.”

Dalton started paying attention to politics after a summer experience. “I plan on following the presidential election more closely now after my Girls’ State experience. It made me much more interested in politics,” Dalton said.

Read the full story in the print edition of the Bull Run and Manassas Observers.

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