Voter Registration Drive Targets Teens - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/01/02

Voter Registration Drive Targets Teens

Gulfport High students got a unique lesson in civic involvement during the lunch hour Tuesday.

Representatives from two community groups visited the school to register voters. The NAACP and the Gulfport Concerned Citizens group urged 18 year olds to get involved in the political process.

They made the voter registration drive as easy as possible and set up shop near the high school cafeteria.

Jessica Duckworth looks forward to casting a ballot in the November 5th election. She was among the first students to take advantage of the on campus registration.

"I think it's important because you need to have a voice in what's going on. And there's a lot of things we can get into the community and do. And if we get the voice to vote then we can make different progress in the community," said Duckworth.

The registration drive gave Brad Fontenot an extra birthday present. He turned 18 Tuesday and says it's important people his age get involved in the democratic process.

"I think it is because we have part time jobs, we pay taxes, so I think it matters," explained Fontenot.

The message is that the opinion of 18 year olds certainly does matter. But those opinions don't count for anything unless they're demonstrated at the ballot box.

Rose Johnson is with the Gulfport Concerned Citizens.

"That's our purpose here is to get them started early. Get them familiar with some of the issues and hope they will vote for good candidates," said Johnson.

One of the issues attracting the attention of voters is the non binding referendum on the flag. Several students mentioned that as a motivating factor.

Danquel Jones says the flag vote is important.

"Where I come from, they make a big issue about the flag. And I understand what it means and everything. I just want my vote to count too," she said.

The voter registration drive will visit Harrison Central High on Thursday.

By Steve Phillips

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