South creates a new method to encourage voting

Natalie Casas

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Natalie Casas

Natalie Casas’ voting bracelet from Law American Society.

The DGS social studies department pilots a new way to provide students with information pertaining to voting with “birthday bags.” These so-called “birthday bags” are delivered the week of your eighteenth birthday if you are in a social studies class.

According to Vox, young people have jumped to a higher participation in voting for 2018 midterm elections.“The recently released biannual poll showed that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year olds said they will “definitely vote” in the 2018 midterm elections, a substantial increase from the 2014 and 2010 midterms.”

Studies have shown that young people in America decline in voting for numerous reasons; such as lack of information, knowledge and notions of no impact in elections.

Carolyn Flores, a social studies teacher at DGS gives further detail what the baggies purpose is.

“One of our goals is to promote civic engagement and make people feel connected with the state, local level and federal level. And also being active and one of the simplest ways is by voting and having a voice. And when you look back at history and how people have fought for the right to vote. And it is easy for us to be disillusioned that our vote doesn’t matter, but it is the cornerstone of any democratic society. If people don’t vote you don’t have a democratic society,” Flores said.

Senior Blake Soderholm attends a social studies class at DGS and gives his opinion on the baggies.

“I think it’s cool that they give you information about how you can sign up and vote, also how to register to vote. It’s [also] a fun gift [to recieve] when you turn eighteen, [because it’s a] good way you can learn about what to do,” Soderholm said.

Flores expands more on the information within the “birthday bags,” and what’s inside of them.

“Inside you will find several things, one thing you will have an information sheet about why you should vote and there is a few  bullet points on why it’s important to vote. There is links to webpages about different issues and how you can find your stances on [issues]. You can [also], find out what congressional district you are in and who your representative is on the federal level and also what your Illinois state senator and representatives are. There is a slip about how to register to vote and different places you can go to register. One of my favorite bits is teachers from the social studies department write why they vote and we thought it was a fun personal way for other teachers to be invested in the birthday boxes,[because] it allows them to kind of make a connection with the teacher. There is some candy and then there is a wristband.” Flores said.

Junior Charlie Kuhlman who is taking Modern World History and is just hearing about the “birthday bags” and shares that he believes it’s like a “reward system for voting”.

Senior Chealsey Perez takes a social studies class at DGS and received a “birthday bag” for her eighteenth birthday earlier this semester. Perez states that “it’s a friendly reminder” for people who can vote and need information to vote.