LPS empowers student civic engagement with voter registration drives

Dozens of Northwest High School students exercised their civic rights during the school’s first-ever student voter registration in early March.

A handful of Falcons helped their peers sign up to vote or walked them through how to change their previous registration. Any student turning 18 before the General Election on Nov. 5 could register.

Northwest junior Brigitte was one of the students who stopped by the booth and was surprised by the ease of the process. 

“It's really easy,” she said. “So, if you think it's like a difficult, long, tedious process, it's not. I thought it was. It really was not – it took me like less than two minutes.”

The Lancaster County Commissioner helps deputize each Lincoln Public Schools high school student who volunteers to help with their school’s voter registration drives. The deputized students not only assist with the registration process but also give them updated information about Nebraska and Lancaster elections, including the state’s new Voter ID law. 

Northwest seniors Alex and Logan were eager to volunteer their time to help mobilize the next generation of voters. 

“It's awesome seeing kids coming up to the booth excited,” Alex said. “I mean, a lot of kids not knowing that they'll even be able to vote, and just seeing them happy and smiling as they get to know they're making a change in this country is so good to see.” 

“It’s like a very rare opportunity to be able to do this,” Logan said. “So I'm taking advantage of it while we have the chance to. I feel like it's really important.” 

LPS has hosted student voter registration drives each spring for more than two decades. This year, seven high schools and the Bryan Community Focus Program organized them to get students signed up for the upcoming elections. LPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist  Jaci Kellison said the timing intentionally encourages more young voters to participate. 

“The upcoming local elections help add momentum to voter registration drives because students know that they will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in just a couple months, which will in turn increase the likelihood that they will continue to exercise their right to vote over time,” Kellison said. 

“Everyone has a point in life when they begin to realize how policy decisions directly affect their lives, and many of those policy decisions that have accumulated over the last few decades have certainly affected recent generations in unprecedented ways,” Northwest social studies teacher Edgar Torres said.  “We have already seen young people vote in record numbers during the last two election cycles!”

The educator also led the organization of  Northwest’s student voter registration event. He and Kellison said these events are a great curriculum tie to what LPS seniors are learning about the U.S. government in the classroom. 

“These drives, as well as any other hands-on experiences, are important because it helps students realize that the things we talk about in class are not some made-up fantasy,” Torres said. “These drives help them feel like they have a vital role to play within our democracy. They feel official!”

The future young voters are making the connections as well. 

“If they want to see a change in how politics is run, that they are the change,” Brigitte said. “Our opinions matter because we are going to be the new adults. So, for them to know they can make a change.”  

About 40 students registered at Northwest during its drive. Educators encouraged eligible student voters to sign up online if they can’t make it to the booth during the school day. Last year, more than 700 LPS high school students registered to vote. 

Do you have a story idea? Share it with the LPS Communications Team by filling out this form!


Published: March 19, 2024, Updated: March 19, 2024

Northwest High School seniors aid their peers in registering to vote at the school's first-ever student voter registration drive.