Feminist Club organizes voter registration drive

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Mira Nalbandian

Outside of the cafeteria, junior Ulaa Kuziez hangs up a sign advertising the voter registration event organized by Feminist Club. Other methods of registering include online or at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but Wednesday, Jan. 29, students will have the opportunity to register at school during both lunches. “By being registered to vote, [students] will be able to take part in the political process and make a difference,” Kuziez said. “It's important that students reclaim that power and use it for good.”

In a few months, registered voters will have the opportunity to take part in the primary presidential elections and the 2020 presidential election. The primaries will take place March 10 and the presidential election Nov. 3. 

The Feminist Club decided to organize a voter registration event for students Wednesday, Jan. 29.

“The people we might register on Wednesday, we may not agree with them politically, but I do still think that it’s important for all students to realize their voice and their power through the political process and voting,” Feminist Club co-president and junior Ulaa Kuziez said.

Kuziez met with the League of Women Voters earlier in the summer. The organization hosts registration events at several schools in the area and will provide volunteers to help register students.

“As feminists, we believe that everyone should be equal in every [way]. And so [a] really important way to [ensure] that is making sure that everyone’s voice is heard,” Feminist Club co-president and senior Emma Caplinger said. “And what better way to do that in the community than on voting topics.”

Feminist Club coordinated with the activities office and the League of Women Voters in order to ensure the registration event was done by the Feb. 12 deadline so registered voters could vote in the presidential primary election March 10.

“It’s a lot harder to schedule school events than people think,” Caplinger said. “There are so many clubs and so many great things happening in the school that you need to find your window of time.”

At the event, volunteers from the League of Women Voters will require either a driver’s license or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number as well as some personal information. Sixteen states, not including Missouri, have adopted Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), which changes the process to a system where those who do not wish to vote opt-out.

I don’t think we should be satisfied until 100% of students that are eligible are registered to vote.”

— history teacher and Feminist Club sponsor Lara Boles

“I wish voter registration was easier, and I think the states that are going to automatic voter registration are doing a great job because once people are registered, they’re much more likely to vote,” history teacher and Feminist Club sponsor Lara Boles said. “I don’t think we should be satisfied until 100% of students that are eligible are registered to vote.”

To register to vote in Missouri, you must be 17-and-a-half years old. This means that all students who register now will be able to vote in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

“It’s important to me that I’m helping other people realize what they can do and the voice they can have,” Caplinger said. “I look at things that are happening in the world I don’t like, and this is one way that I can help voice my opinion and change that. I want other people to have that same freedom to do that.”

I look at things that are happening in the world I don’t like, and this is one way that I can help voice my opinion and change that. I want other people to have that same freedom to do that,”

— Feminist Club co-president and senior Emma Caplinger

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. It was officially ratified Aug. 18, 1920. Earlier in the year, Feminist Club decorated the bulletin board outside of the history concept center with information and pictures about the history of women’s suffrage.

“Women didn’t get to vote all throughout American history, and women of color and other minority groups of women didn’t get to vote even longer after white women achieved the right to vote,” Kuziez said. “Feminism plays an integral role in voting in that way.”

Feminist Club plans on continuing voter registration support in future years as well.

“I hope that [registering] will motivate [students] to become more active in local politics and national politics as well,” Caplinger said. “Even if we feel like sometimes it doesn’t exactly go how we want it to, it’s a really important thing to be able to use your rights and have your say in what the government is doing because we’re so lucky to have that.”