Older students at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy got an opportunity to join in the democratic process on Tuesday, September 22, as they could register to vote outside of the school’s cafeteria. Conducted by deputy registrars who are PMSA students themselves and facilitated in part by PMSA humanities department chair, Ms. Patricia Howard, the voter registration drive was part of a program by the Cook County Clerk's Office as part of National Voter Registration Day.
The targeting of high school students is a key component of the civics campaign. Thanks to a new law that went into effect in 2014, 17-year-old students will be eligible to vote for the first time in the primary election on March 15, 2016, if they turn 18 years old in time for the general election on November 8, 2016. This change has led a number of students to register to vote.
Students who registered to vote and helped their classmates to register said that they wanted to have a voice in how the country is run. Other students who registered said that it was part of growing up. At the end of the registration drive, one hundred students had registered to vote, Ms. Howard said.
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said, "I am excited to see so many of our students understanding the importance of participating in our democracy. I look forward to seeing them learn more about the issues and going out to vote based on that information."
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that she was happy to see students registering.