From April 23 to 24, University High School (UHS) is hosting its annual voter registration drive. During office hours, lunch and snack, City of Irvine representatives set up registration tables in the senior parking lot and the Crossroads, assisting qualified students in completing the registration form and clarifying voter requisites. 73 students registered to vote on the first day of the drive, and, at the time of publication, 126 students registered to vote.
Annually, Irvine Youth Action Team (YAT) representatives organize voter registration drives at their respective high schools. UHS YAT representative Romit Gupta (Sr.) said, “Despite popular notions about teens, students of UHS have a strong desire for politial participation. We wanted to be able to provide students with the opportunity to participate in the political process for the first time. In addition, YAT representatives from all Irvine schools are competing to get the most number of registrations. Also, the support for the social sciences department has been beneficial in encouraging students to register.”
For the first time, the UHS Junior Statesman of America (JSA) club reached out to the UHS YAT club to assist the voter registration drive. While YAT members gathered registration forms, recieved city clerk approval and organized campus registration, JSA assisted with distributing adversting material and provided volunteers to supervise registration tables. JSA President Jessica Shin (Sr.) said, “YAT really helped out with everything, getting the city clerk and the forms. The drive is a joint venture! We are also educating our JSA members on how to help people fill out voter registration forms.”
The voter registration process transitions teenagers from the thirty-second speeches and scantron-bubbling realms of associated student government to formalities of the national and local American political process. Voter registration drives improve student voter literacy, provide students access to city staff familiar with the election process and train student participants to organize voter registration. The City of Irvine, through its YAT programs, has been organizing registration drives for the past several years to encourage civic engagement amongst its students. However, cities nationwide lack the volunteer base and societal efforts to host registration drives at local high schools.
Registering students must be at least seventeen years old and U.S. citizens. Students do not need to provide a drivers license or social security number. However, providing such information will ease the state registration process.
By MAHIMA VERMA