Students Protect the Voices of Holly

By: Jessica Lemond, junior

These Holly students may not be able to vote yet, but last Tuesday they were at the polls, helping citizens vote in their community. From 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Emilio Segura, Sara Johnston, Mateas Stack, Haleigh Kohler, Chrystal McCarthy, Olivia Fogelsong, Allie Karwoski, and Isaac Nixon were hard at work making sure the voices of Rose Township were heard.

The student volunteers were dispersed amongst different precincts, sorting ballots and ensuring all votes were correctly submitted. Senior Emilio Segura described how the volunteers would assign each voter a number to make sure people don’t vote twice.

One of the most interesting parts, the students said, was seeing how many people came out to vote.

“This is my third time working in an election,” said Johnston. “This time though, it was definitely a much bigger deal. There were about 1,000 people. In the primaries, there were only a couple hundred.”

But despite the security at the polls, people were still very protective of their ballots.

“This election was obviously more emotional,” senior Haleigh Kohler said. “A lot of people yelled at us and were really paranoid that we were going to see their ballots.”

Mr. Coggins’ AP Government classes, as well as Rho Kappa members, were offered this opportunity to experience the voting process before it’s their turn to vote. One of the main purposes of the class is to teach students about government and being civically active.  Kohler said that she was so grateful for the experience because it was the most hands-on form of learning. “I am definitely not nervous to vote when I turn 18,” said Kohler.

There were many volunteers of all ages at the polls on Tuesday, including junior Crystal McCarthy who, though being the youngest to volunteer, stepped in when she heard there was a spot open for her.

“I felt a little out of place,” she admitted, “but my mom’s friend who was in charge of everything needed another person to fill in a spot at KRC so I spoke up.”

McCarthy wasn’t the only one who felt out of place; senior Mateas Stack said she felt the same way. “I felt very underestimated by the adult volunteers. But in spite of all the work and pressure, we all proved ourselves capable of the job.”

Aside from spending the day helping out fellow citizens and their community, the students enjoyed great food and a small cash benefit.

“It was a long day, but they fed us and we got paid,” said Stack.

“I would definitely think about working an election in the future,” Johnston said. “I got to meet a lot of really nice people and everything went really smoothly.”

Though things did not go as smoothly for volunteers in Kohler’s precinct, she said that she too enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from it.

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