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Alpena High students learn importance of voting through state initiative

News Photo by Charles Madison Alpena High School students participated in the MI Vote Matters high school school voter registration challenge, an initiative that encourages young people to register to vote.

ALPENA — Students gathered in the Alpena High School commons Friday to participate in the MI Vote Matters high school voter registration challenge, a state initiated program focusing on young voter registration.

Young people can register at 17.5 years old by signing an online pledge to vote, and be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18.

“There’s a competition through all the high schools in the state of Michigan for who signs up the most seniors, so that’s who we’re aiming for,” Lori Vought, counselor at AHS, said.

Each school has the opportunity to receive special recognition from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson this fall. The winning schools will be determined by their success in registering a majority of eligible students to vote this month.

“It’s a non-partisan initiative, we started working with Mr. (Bill) Bright through the Perspectives of Democracy class, and Brianna Decker, career navigator,” Vought said.

Students helped promote the event with graphics and QR codes provided by Michigan.gov, and even designed a simulation of the electoral college process.

“It’s an accurate map of the 2024 election that will occur,” Student Mia Lenning said. “It’s important to have a say in what’s going on in your country, I think that people don’t realize that even one little vote does change something and that’s why we’ve had so much conflict the last few elections. If we see the importance of why we do the electoral college process then we’re going to know what our vote actually does.”

Although students can’t vote just yet, many are ready to be involved in the process.

“Our vote is our voice,” Student Aiden Cardwell said. “It’s our civic duty to be active in our electoral system, this is the best way for people to have a voice. Our policy makers represent mostly our ideals and the changes we want to see made in our country. If we aren’t registered to vote we can’t have a say in that, so essentially our voices are just lost.”

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