By Kyla Downs
I have often heard people say, “why should I vote when it doesn’t count?” A common culture in minority communities says that your vote is basically ineffective. We need to let teenagers know that their vote has value. Educating teenagers on the consequences of not voting can never be as powerful as registering them to vote!
Voter education does not have to be a rush with too much info too fast about too many different candidates. And it should not only happen around presidential elections. High schools should encourage students to not only vote, but take initiative in knowing who they are voting for, including local candidates.
Taking the initiative to research candidates that share your values will make the voting process more personal for students. The passing of the Driving Equality Law is an example of the voices of people of color being heard. With the intention to reduce traffic stops in the city, this law addresses the fearful experience of being confronted by police. Allowing voter education in Philadelphia public high schools will expose students to a positive outlook on voting culture. PA Youth Vote is a collaboration of students, teachers and other organizations working to register every 18-year-old in Philly (and the state). Right now their big push is to get our School Board to make voter registration/education available in high schools. You can support PA Youth Vote by following them on instagram and facebook, as well as participating in their fundraisers.