If you haven’t heard, it’s election year, and in Georgia--newly a swing state--every vote will count. With this in mind, Lovett junior Sarah Dowling and the Student Diversity and Leadership Council organized a day dedicated to helping students and faculty register to vote.
Last Wednesday, the SDLC held their voter registration drive; in the foyer, juniors Ben Foster and Sarah Dowling and seniors Lillian Turner, John Srouji and Sloane Vasser--among others--helped students navigate the Georgia Voters website and handed out printed documents they’d created with helpful voter information. The SDLC also had physical mail-in registration forms for those who preferred the method, but, by and large, everyone registered online. “I registered to vote!” stickers and dum-dum lollipops decorated the tables, whose legs were strung with red, white and blue streamers.
The students worked in shifts before and after school, during lunch, and during community time. During the club assembly I checked in with Sarah, who told me they’d already registered quite a few people, mainly students. “Most people have been seventeen and a half, just registering to get it over with,” she said. “We’ve had a few who will be eligible to vote in November and a couple staff, though.”
On cue, Senora Mitchell walked up to the table, ready to register. “All you need is your driver's license or social security number, then just take one of these computers and fill out your info!” Sarah instructed. The process usually took “three to five minutes,” said Sarah. The worst of it was finding your address from the drop-down list, but otherwise, “it’s pretty easy, pretty quick.”
Gillian King, a senior, was one who’d registered despite not being able to vote in the upcoming election. “I just want to vote as soon as I can, in whatever the next election I’m eligible for is,” she said, “and it definitely helped that my friends were working the drive.” She said she probably would have registered soon on her own, anyways, but it was nice to have a moment carved out to just “get it done.” However, another senior replied that he “probably wouldn’t have gotten around to [registering] if they weren’t set up today.”
Though the day itself ran smoothly, this was the result of a much longer planning process. The event’s original impetus was a program Sarah took part in last spring with the Gun Violence Prevention Fellowship at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “We got together once a week--me and about twelve other Jewish teens--to learn about gun violence protection, civic engagement, and just to have discussions.” The voter drive served as a capstone of sorts for this fellowship. But, the drive was also “important either way. We would have still done it, regardless,” she said.
At Lovett, SDLC dedicated three weeks to planning the drive; this time was mostly spent consolidating the information for their print-outs, which they made collectively. The printed document included voting policies, links to resources, and FAQs and, it was also circulated on Instagram. They also took time organizing logistics like getting the Civic Center to send materials and figuring out the best day to hold the event.
The registration drive was just the first of many election-focused events Lovett will be holding this year--the routine Lovett election, where Lovett faculty and students take part in a mock election, will be held again, and classes like Ms. McCord’s honors AmStud are incorporating the election into the curriculum with an election-centered article-reading project. Some students, like Jacob Frank, will also be working the polls, and many others are getting involved in creative ways.
So, election season has begun, and it definitely has a presence on Lovett’s campus. From registration drives to personal projects and physical involvement, Lovett students aren’t lacking in initiative--they know the importance of this election and the power they--we--hold.