Ready, set, vote

These juniors want to see you vote.  Participate in the Illinois Primary March 15.

Photo courtesy of Kate Pole

These juniors want to see you vote. Participate in the Illinois Primary March 15.

Patrick Deneen, Reporter

195 U-High students will be eligible to vote in the March 15 primary and in the subsequent presidential election in November. This includes those of us who are already 18 and those who will turn 18 on or before November 8. This may not seem like a significant portion of 300 million Americans, but together, young people will make a huge impact on who is elected president this November.

To help you engage with this important election, juniors Megan Wittman, Kaylee Birlingmair, and Brendon Bacon created UEngage. It’s an online platform for voter engagement and information, specifically tailored to U-High students. It will keep you updated on where candidates stand on key issues that affect you, how much success the candidates are seeing, and how you can engage.

March 15th might be your first opportunity to make your voice heard. That marks the date of Illinois’ primary which helps to decide who will be the Democratic and Republican nominees. If you turn 18 on or before November 8th of this year, you’re eligible for the primary, and you can register at one of these locations. You can take two forms of identification to the polling place and vote in the primary in one step, any time between now and March 15.

UEngage and “The Clarionette” will host a voter drive for the upcoming primary. U-High wants all eligible students to be registered and ready to speak up at the polls.

UEngage will regularly feature polls that let you make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you and what you think of the race. They’ll also post information about the election around the school and in the library. To stay informed and engaged with your democracy, you can follow their blog for important information. You can also follow them on Twitter.

All of the candidates of both parties are driving to obtain the youth vote. Young Americans have notoriously low turnout–in the last election, only 21.5% of young eligible voters voted. We’re sacrificing our opportunities to shape the future of this nation.

Two centuries ago, the Founding Fathers risked their lives to create one of the world’s first real democracies. They believed that an informed and engaged populace could make good decisions on how to run the country. The past 239 years have proved them right. Americans of all backgrounds made this country what it is and continue to shape it at the ballot box.

Citizens’ voices have built this country and will continue to drive progress if we make ourselves heard.

So get ready to cast your vote, and get engaged with UEngage.