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October 30, 2018

Some high schoolers will cast first votes next week

Photos/Leland Schwartz
“The improvement, ultimately, of our country falls back on the people that we elect,” says Liberty senior Nada Ismael.
Bulletin board in a social studies classroom at Liberty High School.
You have no reason to complain if you don’t vote. You have no reasons to complain about decisions that are made.
— Liberty High senior Joelle Cipriotti
On the Ballot
Tuesday, Nov. 6, election

U.S. Senate
Tim Kaine (D)*
Corey Stewart (R)

5th House District
Leslie Cockburn (D)
Denver Riggleman (R)

1st House District
Vangie Williams (D)
Rob Wittman (R)*

* Incumbent

Va. Constitution amendments
Click here for details
By Leland Schwartz
For FauquierNow

Voting in her first election next Tuesday, the Liberty High School senior accepts that she holds responsibility for the future in her hands.

“The improvement, ultimately, of our country falls back on the people that we elect,” Nada Ismael said.

Someday, Ms. Ismael hopes to run for public office, which she regards as a key to addressing society’s problems.

Still 17, classmates Joelle Cipriotti and Hayden Acors said they look forward to registering next year because, as the poster on the bulletin board in Chad Patterson’s AP government classroom says: “Your Vote is Your Voice.”

“You have no reason to complain if you don’t vote,” Ms. Cipriotti said. “You have no reasons to complain about decisions that are made.”

In the last “mid-term” elections four years ago, only one in four eligible young people nationwide participated, former President Barack Obama noted in speech last week.

“That makes no sense,” said Mr. Obama, observing that young people wouldn’t let their grandmothers pick their clothes or their parents chose their playlists.

He added: “If you are very protective about those choices, why would you not be protective about your power to choose (who represents you)? Your generation is the one that is going to determine the direction of America for the next 50, 60, 70 years.”

Of peers who don’t vote, Ms. Ismael said: “You just can’t stay on the side.”

She learned in Dean Obrokta’s history class at LHS that “it’s up to us.”

In its registration drive, LHS signed up nine new voters, including two teachers. The fall semester numbers for voter registration remain low, “since most of our seniors do not turn 18 until the winter/spring of 2019,” Mr. Patterson explained.

Then, the school hopes to register 80 to 100 new voters, he said.

Fauquier High School encourages students “to partake in their civic duty” and vote as part of the effort to “graduate informed and responsible citizens,” said Charlie Keith, the history department chairman.

FHS librarians Becca Isaac and Mary Jo Sears took online training to help students register.

Kettle Run High School students took part in a mock election earlier this month, with University of Virginia Center for Politics posters reminding them: “Democracy. It’s up to you.”

Republican challenger Corey Stewart beat U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D), 390 to 210, in the Kettle Run mock election, while Libertarian Matt Waters got 59 votes.

In the 5th Congressional District race for an open seat, Kettle Run students favored Republican Denver Riggleman over Democrat Leslie Cockburn, 412 votes to 232.

About 20 percent of KRHS students abstained from voting in the mock election, according to history department Chairman Jessica Murphy.

Eighty percent turnout next Tuesday would constitute very strong civic participation.

Fauquier County has 50,920 registered voters, 1,672 more than on Election Day in 2016.

That year, 38,124 voted in Fauquier — a 77.41 percent turnout, according to General Registrar Alex Ables.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Contact Leland Schwartz at lelandschwartz@gmail.com or 202-236-0919.
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