Inspired Leader, Scarlett Kiaras-Attari, organized a voter registration drive at her high school, Sacred Heart Academy. Over 60% of their seniors registered to vote. Read how Scarlett managed her success.
What inspired you to register to vote your peers?
I've always been interested in politics and civic engagement. When I turned 17, I immediately registered to vote at my local DMV. It's something that's so important in running our society and yet so many people each election cycle don't vote. Because this issue is so important to me, I wanted to help register the next generation of voters and share something I'm passionate about with my friends.
What were your most successful steps holding your voter registration drive?
The week before the drive, I had it announced during my school's morning announcements and made sure to detail exactly what materials students would need to register (DOB, SSN, etc.). On days when my school wasn't airing the morning news, I had it announced over the intercom. Essentially, I made sure nobody could forget the drive was happening in the next week. I told my friends about it in person, brought it up during class and tweeted it out. During the week of the drive, I continued to have it announced at the start of each school day and made periodic announcement during the lunch hour, when the drive was being held. It's also really effective to go up to tables individually and talk to the students sitting there. Letting them know you're engaged in what you're doing and showing a genuine desire to register students will make them more inclined to participate. Bring the drive to them, don't wait for them to come to you. Stickers are also a great incentive.
What were some of the challenges in registering students to vote?
The biggest challenge is communicating the drive. You can announce it as much as you like but you can't make people listen to you. Taking the time to sit down with students one on one or in small groups to teach them about the importance of voting on how to register can be time consuming yet effective. If you're able to, take class time to talk about the drive then do it! Engaging your classmates and then keeping their interest is difficult but it can be done!
If students didn’t show interest in registering, what did you say to convince them?
Unfortunately, if someone has no interest in registering you can't force them. Maybe sit down with them, ask them why they aren't interested and then share some information about voting and the effect of voter youth. Voting is really important and there really isn't a great youth voter turn out! Try to inspire her to be a part of this increase in the youth vote.
What action are you taking to follow up with your peers to Get out the Vote?
I'm just making sure everyone received their voter location and keeping students updated as to when the next elections are! Keep reminding them about ways they can be civically engaged and aware of what's going on so they actually vote when it's time! We don't want them to register to vote and then not exercise their right!