NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Uncle Sam wants you to vote

To vote or not to vote, that is the question?  Why do people vote?  Why do people not vote?  Does voting really make a difference?  Why you should vote?  These are important questions and I am sure you can come up with more.  The local election for Haverhill City Councilors and School Committee along with Lawrence Councilors and Lawrence Vo-Tech Representation is on the horizon and will take place November 7, 2023.

At Haverhill High School, a forum was held on October 16, 2023 for the community to listen and ask questions from the city councilors that are running in Haverhill.

The AP Government Class taught by Shaun Ashworth organized and hosted this forum and hosted another forum October 26, 2023 for school committee candidates.  The students were directly involved in the creation and implementation of both forums.   Ashworth challenged his class to get involved and Student Emmerson Cerasuolo, who is the vice president of the Student Council and a member of the AP Government Class stated “it is time to get involved and educate ourselves to get out and vote as soon as you turn 18.”

Cerasuolo also stated “we are granted this right and it is our duty to vote.”

Ashworth stated “I think it’s important that young people are civically engaged and register to vote because they are the next generation of leaders.  We have to support them so that they can lead our county effectively in the future.”  Ashworth went on to say “That means we need to provide them with the skills necessary to make informed choices.  In light of the aging leadership right now it is of utmost importance…. They are the future.”

Northern Essex Community College American Government Professor Stephen Slaner said he believes it would be an interesting concept to have a one day voter registration for all students at NECC.

“Voting is a way for citizens to register their preferences on an equal basis with respect to the issue of the day, two of which are matters of life and death. Nuclear weapons and climate change,” stated Slaner.  He goes on to say “Nevertheless, ours is a very imperfect democracy in which some people‘s voices matter a lot more than others.  “One person one vote” ignores the ways in which money and power influence what actually happens in our political system.”

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Auditor Diana DiZoglio believes “it is extremely important for the next generation to get involved because decisions that are being made now at the ballot box involve their future.”

According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Education website, there are close to 10,000 high school students in schools in Lawrence and Haverhill.  Northern Essex Community College has another 4,000 students.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you are eligible to register when you are 16 although you cannot officially vote until you turn 18.

At Northern Essex Community College, having the word community in the name is the key to getting the community involved in this very important initiative, it would highlight the important role the college plays in the future of our communities.

If Northern Essex would lead the charge and organize a voter registration day within the area would be a worthwhile initiative.

They could utilize traditional media outlets such as WHAV Radio, The Eagle Tribune and all of the social media outlets.  Sort of like a blood drive, where you collect blood to nourish bodies, you register to vote to nourish student’s minds.  YOU IN?