New Voter Pre-Registration Information on the School Website!

Lily Botelho, Editor

As a cumulative project for their civics class, all juniors must complete a civics project in order to make a difference in their community. Whether that community is as small as their own school or as large as the whole country, students are encouraged to work on a project to tackle an issue that is personal to them. Civics students Kamryn Berube, Lilly Medeiros, and Lily Botelho chose to take this opportunity in order to increase the amount of students pre-registered to vote at SBRHS.  Below is their Advocacy Narrative, a short essay detailing the goals of their project and how thye hope to achieve it:

 A major issue that both Somerset and Berkley deal with is low voter pre registration. At the age of sixteen, teens are eligible to pre-register to vote. However, many teens are unaware of this opportunity. When a survey was conducted of 106 Somerset-Berkley Students who are eligible to pre-register only 44.3% of them were pre-registered. This leaves a majority of students not pre-registered. Many students expressed that this was because of a lack of knowledge of voter requirements. Out of 122 total students surveyed, 60.7% of them did not know how to pre-register as a teen or register at eighteen. 70% of the 122 students surveyed do not know the registration requirements in the state of Massachusetts. These statistics come right from the students themselves. When students were asked the cause of this problem, students said that it was because of a lack of knowledge of requirements, a lack of knowledge about how to vote, controversial feelings about politics, feeling like their vote did not matter, or having never been inspired to vote. 

Due to the lack of students registered to vote, Bristol County lags behind the rest of Massachusetts in voter pre-registration. Bristol County is ranked 10th out of 14 counties in Massachusetts in voter pre-registration with only 22% of those eligible registered. In Massachusetts, as of 2018, 25% of 16-17 year olds are pre registered to vote. In Bristol County specifically, there are only 3,147 pre registered voters, though people are 8% more likely to vote after pre-registering. This sets students up to have less voice in government when they are eligible to vote. Although Somerset and Berkeley are not solely responsible for the pre-registration numbers for the county, it is an important responsibility to promote an increase in these numbers within our community. The community should want to solve the problem because they should want the next generation to be educated and active in their government. The community should want teens to understand why voting matters, how it works, and what is required. Promoting an increase in these numbers will further help students become more civically engaged. 

The topic of voter pre-registration is important to us. This is because we see many of our peers who feel that their voice does not matter in government even though it does matter. It’s saddening that they feel unheard and do not understand that there is a way to be heard. A way to do this is for students to be educated on voting, especially prior to turning 16. This is because once a student turns 16, they can apply for a learners permit, and when applying they have the opportunity to pre-register. We think the next generation should want to vote and want to share their voice in government, because their voice will affect how our government functions. High school students now will inherit the government of the future and it is imperative that they feel empowered to make their voice heard.

Berube, Medeiros, and Botelho created an informational video and infographic detailing information on how to pre register to vote. If you or anyone one you know has not pre-registered or registered to vote, please check out their resources at the link here!