Archive for Monday, December 28, 2015

Group gathers more than 300 voter registration applications from Lawrence high school students

December 28, 2015


The Lawrence League of Women Voters is working to register hundreds of area high school seniors to vote. But first, league members have to convince them that their vote matters, not just overall, but to them personally.

“It’s getting students to realize that the people who we elect actually do make laws that affect them,” said Cille King, league vice president.

In the past month, members of the league visited Free State High School, Lawrence High School and the Lawrence College and Career Center. They have collected voter registration applications from 319 students, with about half of those including the necessary identification documents as well.

King concedes young voters are usually a difficult group to reach. In every presidential election since 1964, voters between the ages of 18 and 24 have consistently voted at lower rates than all other age groups, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2012, 38 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the presidential election and about half as many voted in the 2014 midterm elections.

Having direct conversations with high school students about voting is the most effective strategy, King said. Previously, the league set up tables during the students’ lunch hour, but for the past two years they have been visiting students’ senior U.S. Government classes. The classroom visits yielded more than three times as many applications, King said.

“That’s certainly an improvement over the last years we’ve been doing it,” she said.

King said having a captive audience gave them more opportunity to ask students about their interests and what issues are important to them. Getting young people interested in voting involves making connections between the issues they find most important — such as policies affecting K-12 education, the cost of higher education and the environment — and elected officials, King said.

“All of those things really matter to the young people; if they can get past the negativity and the politics, then perhaps they’ll vote.”

The league is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. Members can help register anyone who will be 18 by November, which qualifies Lawrence high school seniors and some juniors, King said.

Despite the increased number of applications with the league's most recent effort, King said that the additional documents required to register make completing the process more of a challenge.

“The one problem is that just a little over half provided their documents, and they aren’t really done until they do that,” she said. “Some students tell us that their parents have it in a safe deposit box, or their family is separated and their mom has it in Colorado — any number of things might be happening.”

In October, a new state law took effect requiring county election officers to cancel incomplete voter registration applications that have been lingering or “in suspense” for more than 90 days.

King said that students who didn’t have their paperwork the day of the visit can still provide their proof of citizenship documents to the Douglas County clerk to complete their registration. A list of suspense voters — including high school students from the league’s past registration drives — and instructions on how to complete registration is available on the group’s website.

The group also plans to return to both Lawrence high schools next semester, as well as Baldwin City High School. King said if other schools or organizations would like to arrange for the league to make a visit to register voters, the league can be contacted via its Facebook page.


Cille King 2 years, 5 months ago

We thank the senior U.S. Government teachers for allowing the League into their classrooms. They are greatly appreciated.

Joshua Cain 2 years, 5 months ago

"The league is a nonpartisan political organization..."

I'm not sure the League of Women Voters is 100% non-partisan. Perhaps I can get some help in distinguishing an organizational position and how it is or isn't partisan. For example health care as outlined in the Lawrence-Douglas County League's positions found here:

Healthcare as a right is a distinctively liberal position. So can the league claim non-partisan status when this and other positions can arguably be determined as liberal? Other LWV groups around the country have stated positions against pre-abortion ultrasounds a position that can be interpreted as decidedly liberal? Furthermore the national site takes clear liberal positions on many issues.

I'm not trying to make a judgement on any particular position.....just looking for how certain positions should be viewed within a non-partisan context. I greatly appreciate the LWV efforts to involve young people with respect to voter registration. This is truly a noble and needed effort.

I guess my ultimate question is….how should the public view the motives and agenda of the LWV as a non-partisan group when many examples from public profiles of members and officers to the national site's positions suggest differently? Are the Lawrence Douglas County LWV officers and members a liberal group of individuals masquerading as a non-partisan entity? If not, then its too close for comfort I say.

Joshua Cain 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh....and perhaps there should be a revision to the "making democracy work" slogan. Something more representative of our actual form of government which is a Republic. The Republic is important to add for obvious reasons. Democracy is mob rule.

Bob Forer 2 years, 5 months ago

Why do the semantics make a difference? People understand the meaning. Seems to me that you are just trolling.

Cille King 2 years, 5 months ago

Some will, some won't, just like registered voters of all ages.

Cille King 2 years, 5 months ago

At all levels; local, state, and national, the League has members who are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Unaffiliated.

The League is political: po·lit·i·cal pəˈlidək(ə)l/ adjective adjective: political

of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country.

All adopted positions are first studied and arrived at by concensus.

The positions taken are usually those that are inclusive, i.e. representative government, provides for conservation of natural resources, protects all citizens, and promotes cooperation between governments.

As the League was founded 95 years ago by the same people who worked for women's suffrage, one might expect that rights for all would be highlighted in their positions.


Joshua Cain 2 years, 5 months ago

By rights you mean wants and needs like healthcare that are characterized as rights? Not everyone agrees...and usually it's folks on one side vs. the other with a pretty thick line in between so i'm not seeing "consensus" with respect to healthcare as a right. I get it. I could be convinced that it is but it's partisan. It's aligned along party lines.

There are many, many conservative "non partisan" groups too. Lets just be honest about who is who. The only non-partisan thing about these "non partisan" groups is that they are both partisan.

non·par·ti·san ˌnänˈpärdizən/ adjective adjective: non-partisan not biased or partisan, especially toward any particular political group.

Cille King 2 years, 5 months ago

Universal health care in the U.S. was supported by Republican Theodore Roosevelt: "During the Progressive Era, President Theodore Roosevelt was in power and although he supported health insurance because he believed that no country could be strong whose people were sick and poor, most of the initiative for reform took place outside of government."

The Romney Care that we currently have is a Republican idea.

Republican president Richard Nixon was the president to sign the bill to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, and Clean Air and Clean Water act.

Reasonable people come from all party affiliations.

Paul Beyer 2 years, 5 months ago

But, how many will little "krissie" allow to be completed? Only those who are "republican"?

Bob Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

And, once again, Paul brings the level of discourse down to that of an unsupervised grade-school playground.

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