The Future is Bright: Register Voters with Student Activists

In my two years as a Team Leader for HeadCount I have had the absolute pleasure of registering voters at all types of concerts and events. One thing that I love about HeadCount is how fast and spontaneously an event can come together.

This fast-paced planning happened once already this year with March for our Lives, the student-led demonstrations across the country, where HeadCount answered the call of the Parkland students by registering more than 5,000 people to vote in one day. To continue this momentum, HeadCount put out the democracy Bat-Signal offering our support to students for their school walkouts happening Friday, April 20th.

I had been planning to head out of town early that Friday for a wedding and had taken day off work. It didn’t work out quite that way though because early Thursday morning, I received an email from Tappan, HeadCount’s Volunteer Coordinator, connecting me with Billy, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School here in Sacramento. Billy was wondering if HeadCount would be able to help them register voters at their walkout the next day. We spoke briefly and I agreed (of course!) to make a stop on my way out of town the next day to help.

Friday morning, less than 24 hours after receiving the invite, I grabbed my HeadCount gear and headed down to the school. I found a group of student leaders who were setting up for the walkout. I was immediately inspired by their organization and teamwork. Several of the students volunteered to register voters with me and I was impressed by how committed they were to voter registration.

My table was set up directly across from the school’s entrance so I had a front row seat to the actual walkout. As the wave of students passed through the doors and spilled out into the sidewalk, I was very moved by how this simple action made such a profound statement. When the students made their way to my table, I was glad to discover so many of them were already registered to vote and so many more couldn’t wait to pre-register when they turned 16. Their enthusiasm was palpable and not just for voting and not just for getting common sense gun laws passed, but these young people are ready to steer this country in a new direction. After spending the morning with them, I have no doubt that they will succeed.

Helping the students at Kennedy High was an honor. To see their passion first hand and then multiply it by the thousands of other schools who held walkouts that Friday and then again by the number of young people who will be voting in the next election is encouraging. Our future is safe in their hands and while I will continue to lie to myself and pretend that they need my help (they most certainly don’t!), I am proud to be a part of an organization that supports them. I eagerly await the next last-minute opportunity that comes my way to grab my clipboards and register more new voters.

At HeadCount you never know when that will be but I’m ready, especially if it means making sure that these very smart, very capable student leaders get their voices heard.