Students help get out the vote | NevadaAppeal.com

Students help get out the vote

by Maggie O'Neill

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Members of the Freedom's Answer through 'Take Ten' voting signup forms Friday morning. The group took pledges from people to ensure that they will vote Tuesday. They are from left: Devon Anderson, 17, Jaime Bourns, 17, Danielle Hollenbeck-Pringle, 17, Zach Copoulos, 17, Gary Groth, 16, and Samantha Boykin, 17.

None of the Carson High School students who have gathered pledges to vote in Tuesday’s election is age 18.

That didn’t stop them from talking to others about voting’s importance and collecting 1,331 pledges from people who are old enough to cast a ballot.

“It’s a way for students to help in the election when they aren’t old enough to vote,” said student Danielle Hollenbeck-Pringle.

She and peers Jaime Bourns, Samantha Boykin, Devon Anderson, Zach Copoulos, Gary Groth and three others are part of the school’s Freedom’s Answer group.

Freedom’s Answer (freedomsanswer.net) is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit group formed in 2002 in response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. At high school and college campuses across the United States, chapters provide a way for students to be involved in elections.

Anderson is the state chairman.

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“This election is going to affect our generation more than anything,” he said. “That’s why this organization was started, so we could have a voice in politics.”

In October, group members talked with students during their history classes, asking them to take pledge sheets home and collect at least 10 signatures.

Some teachers agreed to give extra credit to students. Others thought it was a waste of time, and told group members that students don’t care about voting.

“You have to get people to care,” Bourns said.

Members of Freedom’s Answer chapter at Carson High, comprised of Democrats and Republicans, have never discussed political persuasions with each other, remaining focused on their commitment to make sure others vote.

Even after Tuesday – when the Freedom’s Answer students will be at polling places to help answer questions – they will keep up their work.

“We want to do this for not just the presidential election,” Bourns said. “People fail to understand there are local issues.”

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.