Amarillo League of Women Voters helping to register young voters

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo League of Women Voters (LWV) is helping young voters to get registered.

So far, they have visited 11 of 14 schools in the Amarillo/Canyon area. Thursday, they made a stop at Caprock High School.

The LWV just wants everyone to know that their voice matters. They are working not only to register voters but also educate them about what is on the ballot ahead of the March primary.

As a non-partisan organization, the LWV is giving these new voters information about candidates without bias. Voters can see what candidates stand for in their own words, allowing them to form ideas and make their own decisions.

LWV President, Sonya Letson, said it is about exercising your right to vote, no matter how you vote.

“The earlier you register and begin to vote, the more likely you’ll be a lifelong voter,” Letson said, “and we have such a problem with turnout among registered voters that we want kids to get in the habit and to know how important it is to vote, why their voice matters. So we want them to start early.”

Sam Smeaton, an AP government teacher at Caprock High School, said he is interested in increasing young voter turnout, especially in Potter County. Smeaton said even those who are not interested in politics are affected by them.

“Everybody’s got to pay taxes, everybody needs to take care of medical care, everybody has to worry about insurance,” Smeaton said. “Nobody has to worry about their own security, so if you can make those connections with them and make them realize, it may not be something you think about a lot, but it’s affecting every aspect of your life. And so if we can make those connections, it helps get them engaged.”

This is the first school year the LWV has taken this initiative. One teacher at Caprock High School told last semester they were able to register 150 students.

The LWV will host another registration event in May for those turning 18 who would like to vote in the November presidential election.

They will also host registration events Saturday at Amigos United Supermarket at 3300 East I-40 and Market Street United at 26th and S. Georgia Street. That will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The final day to register for the March primary is Monday, Feb. 3. Those interested can also register with the LWV that day. They will be on the first floor of the Santa Fe building in downtown Amarillo from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The LWV’s Volunteer Deputy Registrars can register anyone from both Potter and Randall counties. If you need to register in any other county, go to your county’s voter registrar or tax assessor office—or your voter registration application card needs to be mailed to the Secretary of State’s office in Austin, postmarked by February 3. That is this coming Monday.

Those who are 17 and 10 months old can register but must turn 18 by election day to be able to vote on March 3. Early voting begins on February 18.

Related: League of Women Voters sponsors program on “Maternal Mortality”

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