Emma Rathjen sets up Register to Vote Drive

Amador+seniors+held+up+flyers+to+sign+up+people+to+vote.

Leila Touati

Amador seniors held up flyers to sign up people to vote.

Thanks to some proactive students on campus, Amador Valley now enables students who are 18 to register to vote on campus. Emma Rathjen (‘22),  has put together a stand for students who are sixteen years and older to register and preregister to vote. 

“When I was younger I volunteered with my grandma at the Women’s League of Voters, which I really enjoyed, so that is where some of the inspiration came from,” said Rathjen. 

Emma was inspired by some of her close friends at Foothill High who are in the Social Change Club and host a vote and registration drive. At Amador, there isn’t any group that focuses on voting, and Emma hopes to change that for the future and get students excited about voting.

“I started it by myself, and right now I am recruiting volunteers,” said Rathjen.

With this large project that Rathjen is in charge of, she is also getting a lot of help from other students that would like to participate in this project. Setting up the event, finding out dates, and training students are all steps in her process in order for her project to succeed.

The training took place on November 3, and she hosted this register-to-vote drive the following week. Many students came by during lunch to scan the QR codes listed at the tables along with filling out the registration papers, and many organization workers, and volunteers that Emma trained helped out as well.

“They [students] are helping me with training people and supplying the registration [packets], pens, and the tables,” said Rathjen.

Some students believe it is really important to hold events like this at school to better educate and encourage students to vote. Giving students the opportunity to register so it will be easier when they turn eighteen is also extremely helpful for some people as well.  

“I think it’s really important that students participate in the government because once we turn eighteen it’s going to be a major part [of] our lives,” said participant Terrence Moore (‘23). 

With the lack of education about the election and voting, young people in The United States have the lowest voter turnout, with the turnout among registered voters ages 18 to 29 being only 46% so Emma, along with many other students, believe it is important to provide an experience for students to get involved in the process.

“It is a good way to increase civic participation among the youth, considering that youth turnout in elections is not great nationwide and also not great in California,” said volunteer Edward Ding (‘22).