By Nolan Pham
Last Wednesday, students gathered eagerly on to Sophomore Hill in front of the Big Gym during lunch to attend Votechella intent on earning their lawful privilege to vote. Organized by American Government teacher Lynne Murray and many student volunteers, this event was attended by 250 students who are interested in participating and registered to have their say in the government.
Votechella is a registration drive where students sign up to vote or pre-register to vote online or on paper. It is hosted by Ms. Murray, who for the past years has been working with the registrar of voters in Santa Clara County knowing the importance of voting.
“I’m African American and a woman and with those two life experiences, voting has always been an amazing opportunity that we didn’t always have,” remarks Ms. Murray. “I don’t want students to know that, but hold it close to their hearts because voting is how you share your voice, your opinion, your ideas about how and what the country should be doing for us as citizens.”
At Votechella, motivated student volunteers helped attendees sign up as well as facilitated the event.
“I volunteered at Votechella because I feel like as teenagers we don’t get the word around on stuff that is important. It’s important for teens to know that they need to vote in order for this country to be better,” explained volunteer Navleen Kaur.
Some volunteers also expressed their incentives to encourage others to vote.
“I wanted to take part in giving students my age the opportunity to take the first steps in voting,” explained volunteer Danny Hinh. “Voting is undeniably important because that’s how things in this country are done and I think our generation should be more invested in it.”
Students who were still confused about which party they preferred could still register as well.
“When a 16, 17, or even an 18 year old signs up, they can select what’s called NPP (No Party Preference) so they don’t need to know their political party now,” explains Ms. Murray. “Hopefully by the time of the next election, they will understand what parties they are involved in and can complete it then.”
In the future, Ms. Murray is confident that Votechella will continue to be a popular event attended by many students.
“I think this generation is much more aware of the activities of our government and what they can do as residents of the U.S,” remarks Ms. Murray.
Overall, teachers and volunteers are proud of how the event turned out and hope to have the same success next year.
“It seemed to go pretty. A lot of people came to register and I hope they end up voting,” commented volunteer Justin Wang.
Students who missed the event with ambitions to vote are still able to contact Ms. Murray to register to vote.
“I welcome anyone to come in and grab a form and often times I’m here after school to hook students up to the online application so they can vote,” added Ms. Murray.