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Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2007

18th birthday brings freedom to vote

September 19, 2007

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Free State High School senior Cori Allen registers to vote on her 18th birthday at the Douglas County Clerk's office. With her Tuesday were family members and several of her close friends.

Free State High School senior Cori Allen registers to vote on her 18th birthday at the Douglas County Clerk's office. With her Tuesday were family members and several of her close friends.

Since she was a little girl, Cori Allen has waited for her 18th birthday.

Not for the freedom or the fun, but for the opportunity to vote.

"It's like the biggest moment of my life thus far," Allen said Tuesday, her birthday. "I think it's the most important thing you can do once you're 18."

With friends and family gathered around at Douglas County Courthouse, Allen marched up to the counter Tuesday and filled out the form. A simple move, but one filled with meaning and importance for the teen.

It might seem like an unusual way to celebrate the day, but friends and family say they aren't surprised.

Allen and friend Kate Falkenstien started a young Democrats club at Free State High School. They sold T-shirts to raise funds for the state Democratic Party. Allen also worked on Nancy Boyda's congressional campaign.

The Free State senior is a straight-A student with her eyes on attending the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business next fall.

"It's a unique celebration," said Falkenstien, who helped celebrate at the courthouse Tuesday. "I think it's fitting for Cori. This is what she's interested in."

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said every once in a while there is a young person like Allen who is eager to register.

"It's probably not as common as I'd like," he said. "Everybody's excited to get their driver's license. What can we do to make it so that you're excited to be able to vote?"

On the eve of the 2006 midterm election, nearly 15,000 Douglas County residents ages 18 to 24 were registered to vote. They made up about 19 percent of all registered voters.

Shew says such figures likely are higher for Douglas County than other areas because it's a college town where students often organize registration drives.

Nationally, the voter turnout rate was 25.5 percent for the midterm election - up 3 percentage points from the 2002 midterm, according to the Maryland-based Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.

Shew said presidential elections and some gubernatorial races often attract the youth vote more than local races.

And although Allen hasn't settled on a presidential candidate, she's excited about the election.

Allen knows her birthday dream is a bit unique, but she doesn't think she's alone in her eagerness to participate in the political process.

"I don't think many people are as excited as I am to go register to vote on their 18 birthday - the very moment they possibly can," she said. "I think a lot of kids at our school are very conscious and they vote or register to vote as soon as they remember to or as soon as they get the time."

Comments

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

My eldest will be 18 years old soon, and she is looking forward to voting, too.

b_asinbeer 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm proud of her for registering to vote, but this is news? Ok.

Centrist 7 years, 2 months ago

So nice to see a positive attitude about our democracy. Well done, Cori!

Horace 7 years, 2 months ago

The voting age should be 30. Recent research confirms the brain doesn't finish developing until 25. Until you're 30 you haven't experienced enough and changed your mind enough to actually have reasonably well thought out opinions. Thank goodness most 18 year olds don't actually vote.

okjhok 7 years, 2 months ago

"It's probably not as common as I'd like," he said. "Everybody's excited to get their driver's license. What can we do to make it so that you're excited to be able to vote?"

Nothing. Politicians aren't worth voting for.

PeteJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Way to go Cori! I bet this young lady is the product of spectacular parenting.

Chicago_JHawk 7 years, 2 months ago

I have no problem with the voting age being 18, but I think a person should have to pass a test before being granted the right. Similar to a driving test, but covering the basics of government - how does a bill become law, how many senators from each state, how many reps total, branches of government, how may SC justices, etc. People should have to prove some knowledge of the government process before being allowed to have a say in it.

That said, this young lady sounds like someone who would easily pass this test, with her long running interest in democracy. Good for her!

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

Cori does have great parents. Way to go for raising such an intelligent daughter!

preebo 7 years, 2 months ago

Here! Here!

Since my son, Julian, turned 5 I have taken him along with me to vote in every instance local and national. I also plan on doing the same with our daughter, Abigail, as well. I feel that is the best way for them to learn the importance of the right to vote and the responsibility involved. I only hope that both of my children are as excited to vote on their 18th as young Cori.

matahari 7 years, 2 months ago

I think they should inform the newly registered voters that will will now be eligable for jury duty, and will get requests to perform this job !

But, once you do it, there is no way to unregister!

Keith Campbell 7 years, 2 months ago

Matahari- Your last statement is incorrect. According to Kansas Law you can unregister:

A registrant may at any time file a written request with the county election officer to have his/her name removed from the voter list. [KSA 25-2316c(f)(2)]

Here is a link to the the above referenced statute http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=13601

EXks 7 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations to this young woman for taking the initiative, I suspect most 18 year olds have no idea they can vote. It is your civic responsibility to vote. I was granted this right in 1976 and have voted in every city, county, state, and federal election since.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 2 months ago

Young people vote once, every four years. She's in business school, so she'll be a republican when she turns around 40. :)

bearded_gnome 7 years, 2 months ago

Young people vote once, every four years. She's in business school, so she'll be a republican when she turns around 40. :)

check, when she's actually handled money and grown up.

matahari 7 years, 2 months ago

thanks lostblend! appreciate the links, sorry for the incorrect information!

matahari 7 years, 2 months ago

even tho the cyber sensor deleted the latter part of the link (as usual) i'll find it! I can usuallly persuade them not to make me show in a comment or two!

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