A group of seniors in the Regional Alternative School (RAS) Participation in Government class took a field trip to visit polling locations on Election Day 2019.
The students visited polling places in Ithaca, Varna and Etna. Participation in Government instructor Zach Leviere was able to vote and demonstrate the process, then students who were eligible to vote had the opportunity to do so as well.
Because the trip took place during the day, the polling places were not as busy as they are during peak hours. This gave the students a chance to talk to the election volunteers and learn about the process of preparing a polling location for voting.
“This was a great opportunity for the students to witness and actually take part in our governmental process,” Mr. Leviere said. “Two of the students, myself and our science teacher, Bob Belle, voted. In class we can learn about how government works, what our different elected officials do and what the voting process is like. However, there is nothing quite like experiencing the democratic process firsthand.”
The experience also provided an opportunity to discuss issues around the process of voting, such as transportation and access to polling locations. By having a chance to participate and witness voting, the trip demystifies the process for young voters and will hopefully encourage future civic engagement.