League of Women Voters-Tyler/Smith County Engages Young Voters
I remember when I first became old enough to vote in an election. I was proud to get that voter registration card. I couldn't wait to get into the booth and cast my votes. I felt that I was contributing to society. I was important. My opinion mattered.
Getting my voter registration card was just as much a rite of passage as getting my driver's license.
Today there are a lot of people who are not so excited about being able to vote. According to information in the current newsletter of the League of Women Voters-Tyler/Smith County, Texas ranks first in the nation in the percentage of population who is eligible to vote, but, for whatever reason, do not.
In January, a new law requires that all voters not only be registered to vote but also be able to produce a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license or a passport. For some, such as the elderly who no longer drive, that could present a problem. The LWV is concerned that the new requirements could raise even higher the percentage of residents who choose not to vote.
In response to Texas' dismal voting percentage and changes in the law, LWV -- which promotes voting and efforts to keep residents informed about issues and does not endorse candidates -- is taking action by rolling out its High School Registration Project encouraging teenagers of voting age register to vote and go to the polls.
"The plan calls for convening a community coalition of several organizations to organize and implement a countywide approach to engaging young votes," writes Dee Brock, LWV's programs vice president in the newsletter.
Volunteers will help register students to vote, stress to youth the importance of voting as a civic responsibility and recruit student leaders to the cause.
In order to help voters become aware of the new requirements and help residents secure a photo ID needed in order to vote, LWV is planning a communitywide meeting, "Voting Matters," tentatively set for later this month.