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Pictured: Emory Paul (left) takes a photo with State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (right) during his internship in her office this past week. 

VOX 5: How Teens Can Become Politically Active

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Teens are becoming more and more politically active, but there is still room to improve. According to a December 2019 Axios article using data from the U.S. Census, in the 2018 elections, only 11.6 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 voted in the 2018 presidential elections. Teenagers and students of today have a voice that others in the past did not have, and they must use it as much as they can. In order to change society and effect positive change in your community, you must start by becoming politically active. Here are a couple of ways in which you can do so:

Become Georgia Senate or House Page!

One way to become politically active is to become a Georgia Senate or House of Representatives Page. According to the Georgia Senate Page Program webpage, the page program “offers students aged 12 and older a first-hand opportunity to visit the Capitol to observe and participate in the legislative process.” You will deliver important messages and information to and from the elected official you page for throughout the legislative session. This program will allow you to become more knowledgeable and give you the opportunity to interact with your legislators and learn how to effect change in your community. Click on the links below to get more information and apply to become a page!

Georgia Senate Page Program: http://www.senate.ga.gov/hr/en-US/SenatePageProgram.aspx
Georgia House Page Program: http://www.house.ga.gov/en-US/HousePageProgram.aspx

Become a Poll Worker!

Another way to become involved in the political process is to become a poll worker. Being a poll worker entails working at voting polls during Election Day. You will be able to get first-hand experience in the voting and electoral process, and you will get paid for doing so. According to the Cobb County Board of Elections website, your roles will include helping to “set up and open the polling place, greet voters, assist voters, and close the polling place.” This is a great opportunity to develop an interest in the voting experience and build your resume. Click on the links below to get more information on how to become a student poll worker.

Georgia Poll Workers: https://georgiapollworkers.sos.ga.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Student Poll Workers: https://firefly.sos.ga.gov/_layouts/15/StudentPollWorker/studentform.aspx

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Get Involved in Your Favorite Candidate’s Campaign!

One of the more interesting ways to become politically active as a teenager is to become involved in the political party and campaign of your favorite candidate. A great way to help is to canvass for the candidate. As a political canvasser, you will engage voters of a certain district, usually going door-to-door to speak with voters at their homes. Canvassing will allow you to raise community awareness, gather support for a candidate or specific issue, and help raise money and attention for a cause you’re passionate about. Simply email or go to the website of the candidate or party you desire to help or work for and ask how you can get involved in his or her campaign.

More information on political canvassing: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-canvassing-learn-about-the-campaign-technique#how-does-canvassing-work 

Contact Your Elected Officials!

Another great way to bring change to your community and become active in the political process is to contact your elected officials. Contacting your representatives is one of the most effective methods of getting your voice heard. Keep in mind that local government officials are more likely to respond sooner and local legislation has the most impact on you, so make sure to contact them first. Let your representatives know what you believe and your opinions on certain issues, so they know how to represent you. Below are links to help you contact federal, state, and local elected officials.

How to find your elected officials: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Best ways to contact your representatives and proper etiquette: https://www.nationalpriorities.org/take-action/contact-your-representative/

Last but not least, VOTE!

VOTE! This is the most important thing to do to become politically active and effect change in your community. If you are not 18 years old or older, you can help by registering people to vote who are of age and by advocating for voting. It is becoming more important than ever to vote, and the youth vote is very important in swaying an election. Your elected officials both locally and nationally affect your everyday life, so get out and vote. Every vote counts!

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Here is a link that will take you to the site where you can register to vote:

Georgia Voter Registration: https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/welcome.do#no-back-button

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