Committee of Seventy is bringing high school students to the polls - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 3, 2016 10:11 am

Committee of Seventy is bringing high school students to the polls

The better government nonprofit hopes its Election Ambassador Corps program will inspire youth to vote in the future.

Election Ambassadors meet then-mayoral candidate Jim Kenney near a polling place in 2015.

(Courtesy photo)

If adolescents were invited to engage in politics, would they be more likely to vote when they turn 18?

Committee of Seventy thinks so. The century-old nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for better government is gearing up for Election Day (Nov. 8!) with its Election Ambassador Corps, a program that brings high school students to their local polling places to observe live voting.

committee-of-70-election-ambassadors

(Courtesy image)

The students are also trained to answer voters’ questions about voting procedures, report electioneering efforts and conduct surveys about election reform.

The program is a response to the fact that “young people are less inclined to register to turn out and vote, and to pay attention to their government and participate in the political process,” said Pat Christmas, policy program manager. “There is a growing disenchantment with the political process — and in too many instances, outright frustration and anger.”

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The org hopes that by introducing youth to the political process before they can actively participate in it, they’ll be more inclined to vote in the future. For the past three local and national elections, the program has placed about 700 students at polling sites around the region. This year it’s aiming to place 300 to 400 more students.

In an election season that’s seen so much negativity, it’s especially important to encourage engagement among youth — the city’s (and nation’s) future leaders, Christmas said.

Want your students to participate? Email pchristmas@seventy.org.

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