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HISD kicks off district-wide voter registration drive for students

Houston ISD is taking civics lessons to a new level. Students who turn 18 can register to vote inside their schools.

A voter registration drive just this week ended with dozens of new voters.

“I mean, I can’t do anything without voting,” said student Joseph Bailey.

Bailey is now embracing what so many adults take for granted.

“I know I’m young, but I actually want a change in my community,” said Bailey. “I want things for the better.”

Bailey and other students filled out registration cards during an assembly this week.

They also heard from HISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones about the importance of voting.

“We believe that when you get a child who is transitioning into adulthood, when you give them the ability to own their vote at an early age, that it keeps them engaged over a lifetime,” said Skillern-Jones.

Skillern-Jones told us that students probably know about the budget crisis and other impediments the district faces.

But telling them how to vote is not part of the plan.

“We don’t take stances or recommend political parties or candidates,” said Skillern-Jones. “We just want them, along with their civics and government lessons, to go ahead and be engaged and know that this country was built on democracy and that democracy depends on every person having their own vote and using their own voice in that way.”

The district alerts campuses when a student is having an 18th birthday so they know registration is an option.

Like all of us, exercising the right to vote is up to them.

“It’s definitely important,” said Bailey. “I mean, they might not care about change, but they should partake in actions that lead up to voting.”

High school principals, in many cases, are also deputy registrars. That makes registering students to vote that much easier.

More information on HISD’s Voter Registration Week click here.