2016-10-06 / Local News

Effort on to line up new voters

Deadline coming on Tuesday
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


OLIVIA FELLOWS, who turns 18 this week, gets registered to vote while at Leland School, where she is a senior, with a little help from Leelanau County Deputy Clerk Lyn Drzewiecki. OLIVIA FELLOWS, who turns 18 this week, gets registered to vote while at Leland School, where she is a senior, with a little help from Leelanau County Deputy Clerk Lyn Drzewiecki. The last day to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election is coming up fast.

That looming deadline is Tuesday.

One new voter, Olivia Fellows, will be at the polls on Nov. 8, where she’ll exercise a right bestowed upon American women in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the right to vote.

Fellows, who will be 18 on Friday, is a senior at Leland High School.

“I think it’s important to vote because you have to have your voice heard,” Fellows said. “I think voting does that.”

Leland will also be the site for an Oct. 25 mock election that has been held at the school every year since 1985.

Veteran government teacher Ed Wodek, who died in February, organized the popular event in past years.

This year Brandon Wheeler, who teaches English and social studies, has taken on the role, inviting local, state and national candidates to speak at the school.

Students under 18 are encouraged to vote in the mock election, with students from other area schools invited to participate.

Fellows was registered during her lunch hour at Leland this week, where representatives from the Leelanau County Clerk’s office and the League of Women Voters Leelanau County were on hand with sample ballots, registration forms and other information for the county’s youngest voters.

“We want them to vote,” said Chris Palmer, a volunteer with the League of Women Voters (LVW). “That’s one of our main purposes.”

Students must be at least 17 years and six months old to register. Any applicants younger than that will be rejected by the state, said Lyn Drzewiecki, a deputy clerk with the county.

Students will then have to attain the age of 18 before they can vote.

Drzewiecki said there were five Leland students who were at least 17 1/2 years old, but only Fellows was turning 18 by the November election.

Registrees must also have a driver’s license, state-issued identification card or other current photo ID, such as a passport, or military, student or tribal ID.

The clerk’s office or someone from the LVW usually contacts schools in an election year to get eligible teens registered.

This year, only Leland and Northport Public School responded, Drzewiecki said. Northport has only one eligible student and someone from the clerk’s office was planning to head north this week to get him registered, Drzewiecki said.

Drzewiecki said she visited Northwestern Michigan College last week, where she helped 10 students get registered. The deputy clerk also gives out sample ballots and information on voting rights to the first-time voters.

Others who want to register can visit their township or county clerk or any Secretary of State office.

Registrations can also be mailed to a township or county clerk. If a person registers by mail they have to vote in person at their first election, unless they are 60, are disabled, or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act.

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