New Club Encourages First Time Voters

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Grace Harris

As the 2020 presidential election draws near, a new club on campus is taking charge to get students registered to vote.

 Tampa Prep First Vote, created by seniors John Koerner and Tess Wagner, is a chapter of the larger national youth voter registration movement.

   Their mission is to be a non-partisan student-led organization focused on raising awareness about voting and getting people registered to vote.

   “You don’t have to be super political but it’s important to know what’s going on in our lives,” Wagner said.

   The club began when Doug Smith, a history teacher who taught both of them their junior year in Intro to Law, forwarded them an email about the national organization. 

   Koerner and Wagner had a call with the national leadership and suggested creating high school chapters where students would work to register other students at their schools.

   “I told the national level I think it would be more effective to do all the work we’re doing with the national level and bring it to schools,” Koerner said.

   Tampa Prep First Vote is the first high school chapter of First Vote, so their success this year will determine if this will be continued in the future with other high schools.

   At the moment, the club has been working on sharing information about how to register to vote, and starting Monday began a week-long student voter registration drive.

   “We’re planning a virtual voting drive and so we’re going to put a big poster at the front of the school like they do for fundraisers but instead of money it’s people registered and our goal is to get 150 people registered to vote,” Koerner explained. “If we [meet that goal], we get a spirit day.”

   Still, Wagner, Koerner, and the other members of First Vote are working hard to make a difference in the political engagement of students at our school.

   Overall, their hope with the club is to encourage youth involvement in elections and help students make their voices be heard.

   “I know a lot of kids have opinions and aren’t always listened to and it’s important they find the information they need and pay attention to what’s going on,” Wagner said.