Lemont makes sure student voices heard

Voter registration drive held during lunch periods


Nour Longi

Junior Christopher Calhoun, who will turn 18 on Oct. 14, 2020, registering to vote during his A lunch period. Volunteers from the Cook County Register, Laura Derks and Sharon Storveck, made sure Calhoun filled out the application, which took him five minutes to fill out, correctly. Calhoun said, “I feel it’s your duty as your citizen to vote. It’s a right that people in a lot of other countries don’t have.”

Nour Longi, Assistant Editor

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, and Wednesday, Feb. 12, the social studies department organized a voter registration drive for students who will be 18 years old by November 3, 2020. 

The process was simple: volunteers from the Cook County Register – through the program ILVOTE – set up a station in the commons, where students could register during all lunch periods. Students needed a form of identification, such as their driver’s license, state ID, or the last 4 digits of their social security number, to fill out the one-sided Illinois Voter Registration Application. 

The program will mail the applications to the Cook County Clerk’s office, and students should receive a voter identification card in the mail. The card provides voters crucial information, including their polling location, what time it opens, and their representatives. 

Earlier this year, “ILVOTE”, a state civic organization for voter-registration purposes, contacted Principal Michaelson to host a voter drive. Laura Derk, a volunteer from Illinois Vote helping with registration on Wednesday, said, the goal of the program is “to mobilize young voters and educate them.” 

Principal Michaelson directed ILVOTE to Rick Prangan, the head of the social studies department, to organize the event. 

“One of our core principles of our department is participatory citizen. The greatest example of participatory citizenship is voting. Like it or not, politics will have an effect on your life, and having a say in that effect, having a voice, is a key part of the democratic process,” said Prangan.

The school has hosted a voter registration drive years ago, but it never became a consistent event offered. Prangan hopes this becomes an annual drive. 

Lemont is not alone in their efforts to increase the turnout of young voters. In fact, ILVOTE recently reached the milestone of aiding 600 schools in providing their students with voter registration. 

 “I think everyone should vote– it doesn’t matter if it’s a highschool student or a 90 year old grandma– it’s a right and we should all do it,” said Sharon Storveck, another volunteer from the Cook County register, “I am very happy your social studies department pushed for this, I think all schools should do this.”

Students in Rho Kappa, the social studies honors society, also played a role in setting up this event. The honors society promoted the event through hanging up posters around the schools, writing announcements, and contacting seniors to increase turnout. 

“Voter registration is more than just saying you will cast a ballot in the election; it’s about exercising the inherent rights that you have to make an influence in your community. Voting is just one of the many ways that people can do that, but it opens the door for passionate people to welcome those other ways as well,” said Aubry Moliter, the president of Rho Kappa, “Rho Kappa wants to promote this type of engagement for not only its members, but LHS students in general.”

Students who registered to vote through the school should be able to vote for the upcoming primaries and the 2020 presidential elections. 

If you missed the voter registration drive through the school, you can register online by filling out the Illinois Online Voter Application on https://ova.elections.il.gov/.