This Super Tuesday was my first time ever to vote. As a first-generation college graduate and first-generation citizen of this country, it is my duty to spread the importance of voting among eligible voters, particularly young voters. Becoming an American offered me the opportunity to have access to a great education and with my ability to vote I feel compelled to protect those opportunities for generations to come. Voting is a right and privilege we often take for granted or only exercise during presidential years. As representatives of public schools, we have a responsibility to register our students to vote (See code below) and to encourage them to be self-advocates.
Sec. 13.046. HIGH SCHOOL DEPUTY REGISTRARS.
(a) Each principal of a public or private high school or the principal's designee shall serve as a deputy registrar for the county in which the school is located.
(b) In this code, "high school deputy registrar" means a deputy registrar serving under this section.
(c) A high school deputy registrar may distribute registration application forms to and receive registration applications submitted to the deputy in person from students and employees of the school only.
(d) At least twice each school year, a high school deputy registrar shall distribute an officially prescribed registration application form to each student who is or will be 18 years of age or older during that year, subject to rules prescribed by the secretary of state.
On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, I had the opportunity to work with Amanda List of ResponsiveEd and the amazing school leaders at Premier High School, a drop out recovery school in South Austin. We registered students who had not previously registered to vote, totaling 22 new voters! We also helped answer students’ questions on the electoral process and the importance of participating in local to presidential elections. As students walked into the classroom, their energy level could be described as lethargic but by the end of our brief program, students were excited by election discussions with their peers, receiving answers on the electoral process, and of course, receiving a sticker for registering to vote.
It is my life’s mission to work tirelessly and relentlessly to advocate for all students to have access to quality public schools. I am also aware of how often those of us that work at the campus level forget to engage in our democratic process. Maybe some of us have lost faith in our electoral system, but now is not the time, and we are not in a space where we can afford to opt out of voting for elected officials and engaging with them on the legislative process. Education is a state’s responsibility and voting is our responsibility.
We must speak out for all public charter school students. To learn more, visit TCSA's Get Involved webpage.