Reeling in new voters at Plainville High School

October 11, 2013
Students at Plainville High School had the opportunity to register to vote last week.

Students at Plainville High School had the opportunity to register to vote last week.

Elizabeth Hernandez, left, and Natasha Marte Underwood took time out of their lunch to register to vote last week.

Elizabeth Hernandez, left, and Natasha Marte Underwood took time out of their lunch to register to vote last week.

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
Twice each school year, once in the fall and once in the spring, the Plainville Registrar of Voters visit Plainville High School so students, who are eligible, can register to vote.
“It is a great opportunity for the students to see democracy in action,” said Plainville High School Principal Steven LePage.
During the lunch periods, students were able to visit the registrar’s table in the cafeteria and fill out the registration form. Students who are 17 could register, but wouldn’t be able to vote in this year’s election unless their birthdays fell on or before Nov. 5. Students who are 18 already could register and also vote during this year’s election.
Natasha Marte Underwood and her friend Elizabeth Hernandez took time out of their lunch to register to vote last week, because they said their teachers had explained the process in class.
“We figured it is easier to register here today, rather than going to Town Hall,” Marte Underwood said. “It saves us a trip.”
LePage said students will learn about democracy and government in their classes, but actually participating in the voting process is much different.
“They get to participate and realize their vote does matter,” he added.
Last Wednesday, the registrars signed up over one dozen students, and said the students just fill out the form and they are simply there to assist them.
“This is their right, they should be voting,” said Republican Registrar of Voter Beth Gasparini.
“We always hope that when the students register they will pay more attention to what is going on in their town, their state and in their country,” said Jean Lombardo, Democrat registrar of voter, who said the years are staggered in terms of how many register each time they visit the high school. She added the registrars find more students registering during presidential elections.
This year is a little different, in that anyone can register to vote up until Election Day, Nov. 5, and vote on the same day. On the registration form, anyone can declare a party, Democrat or Republican, and also choose “other” or they can choose to not declare a party at this time.
“It is important that we encourage them to learn about what is going on, and that they should be exercising their right to vote,” LePage said, adding that registering to vote is another “benchmark” that comes with being a senior in high school, next to graduating, and entering college or the work force.
The Plainville Registrar of Voters office is located at the Municipal Center, 1 Central Sq., on the main floor. This year’s election includes, but is not limited to, Town Council and Board of Education. For more information call (860)793-0221.

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