Senior students at Oak Mountain High School will have the opportunity to learn more about their Constitutional rights as voters this week as they participate in a voter registration drive and experience a Mock Election.
A similar event was held at the school last year, but this is the first year that it will be expanded to include the entire senior class.
According to OMHS teacher, Ashley Bahr, she and fellow teacher, Susan Schwartz, organized a mock election last year for their combined Government classes. They planned that mock election with the assistance of Gwendolyn Brown, a peer advocate for Disability Rights and Resources, and Kim Nelson with the Shelby County Probate Office. The purpose of that event was to not only explain the election process to students, but to also showcase the new Automark voting machines, which provides autonomy to voters who are blind, visually impaired, or have a disability or condition that makes it difficult for them to mark a traditional ballot.
Bahr said she and Schwartz were experimenting with team teaching their smaller Government classes last year in order to do some project based learning like Classroom Congress and Classroom Court activities that work better with larger classes.
“Hosting a mock election seemed to fit in perfectly with what we were trying to achieve with our combined Government classes,” said Bahr. “Our students truly enjoyed the experience and were able to see first hand how to fill out a ballot, submit their ballot, and witness how their vote counted.”
Because of the success of last year’s mock election event, the group started discussing the possibility of teaming up and hosting a mock election for the entire twelfth grade class this year.
“We also discussed how it would be a great opportunity to take it one step further and hold a voter registration drive during that time,” explained Bahr. “In the past, our Government and Economics teachers encouraged students to register to vote by providing them with voter registration forms and even offered to collect the forms to mail in for the students. We felt like this would be a great time to complete all of that at one time.”
“We wanted to make sure we hosted the elections and voter registration drive in enough time to allow seniors, who are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections, enough time to complete the process prior to Election Day,” Bahr added.
Oak Mountain High School will host the voter informational meeting and voter registration drive on Thursday, October 16. Students will be educated about the voting machine, voting process, and will receive their voter registration forms.
The mock election will be held on Friday, October 17th. A voting machine will be set up the Commons Area of the school from 1st-5th periods and all 12th grade students will participate in the mock election through their Government and Economics classes throughout the day. Students will also turn in their voter registration forms at that time.