Teacher Registered Kids to Vote Despite Stupid Law


votingIt's a standard practice at high schools across the country. A social studies teacher tells kids that they need to register to vote as soon as they turn 18. Some even take it a step further by handing out voter registration paperwork to make sure the kids have access. But as one teacher in Florida found out, that simple act of teaching kids to be good citizens could land you in legal hot water.

Jill Cicciarelli is facing thousands of dollars in fines for daring to start a drive to get her civics students to perform their civic duty. And our forefathers are concurrently spinning in their graves.

The law that Cicciarelli allegedly violated is new -- which explains why she didn't know about it -- and it requires any third party who is registering voters register with the state. They're also required to submit the applications within 48 hours of having them signed.

Way to make it hard for teachers to actually teach! How many groups of teenagers do you know who will all hand in their paperwork on the SAME day so their teacher can easily take one big pile to the voter registrar's office? Yeah, didn't think so.

Passed by Republicans, ostensibly to fight voter fraud, the law is being fought right and left by people who say it will suppress voter participation. I tend to agree. As long as you're telling teachers not to sign up new voters, you're cutting off the lifeblood of a community.

Our kids!

Remember when you were a teenager? When birthdays were still exciting milestones that meant new privileges and new adventures? It's that youthful exuberance that we need to capture to get people signed up to vote. Because once you're registered, you're set. You can vote. And you're more likely to hang in there as a voter again and again.

In a nation where less than half of people 18 to 24 are registered to vote (compared to 73 percent of geriatrics), we need to convince our kids that they need to get their butts in gear. And where better than in a classroom? Teenagers, especially, are often more likely to listen to a teacher than their parents (sigh ... ) when it comes to timely matters. It sounds like Jill Cicciarelli is being screwed for being just the kind of teacher I'd love to have in my kid's classroom: engaging, active, smart.

If laws like these are what it takes to fight voter fraud in adults, there needs to be a clause that separates teachers from the pack. We depend on them to impart lessons on citizenship. How about letting them do their jobs?

Do you think teachers should help kids register to vote?


Image via lowjumpingfrog/Flickr

issues, school


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ashjo85 ashjo85

So why not set aside a day to have someone who is already registered with the state come in, do a presentation, answer question, register those who are 18, and that person can go back and take care of all the paperwork? This person could also give information to those who aren't 18 yet so they'll know exactly what to do and where to go to register once they turn 18. It can't be that hard.

ashjo85 ashjo85

^Oh, and I don't think the teacher should be fined in this instance, especially if it's a new law and clearly not a case of intentional voter fraud.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Please. Teachers make lesson plans. THey give assignments on a regular bases. Assignment: Due next Wednesday: A copy of a piece of mail sent to your house. Be sure that you have your driver's license with you, as well. We will be registering to vote.

I read the application, which can be found here. It's five, maybe ten minutes of work, followed by taking the oath, and having your identification checked.

If a teacher can't plan for that, and have paperwork in 48 hours in advance, he or she has no business being a teacher.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

A teacher's job isn't to register voters, and I in no way would support a provision for teachers to not follow state law.  This is really one of the dumber articles I've read on The Stir, and that's really saying something.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

Come on people. When I was n school our teacher did this she told us 2 bring da paper n our id the next day. Sum people did, sum brought just da paper sum just their id. If we remember being a child not blaming a teacher 4 making sure our democratic nation listen 2 da voice of younger kids maybe our country wouldn't b as crazy as it currently is right now

tayanna2 tayanna2

Why can't they take the form in themselves? Why does the teacher have to do it? If they can't get off their butt to turn in a form, what makes you think they'll actually vote? Apathy is what's killing this nation, not the economy.

MamaI... MamaItaliano66

Hell no it's NOT okay!  Registering to vote is a personal choice.  Once again, yet another teacher overstepping boundaries. 

tis.u... tis.unnatural

I absolutely agree with LittleFrogsMA!

PonyC... PonyChaser

Oh, and who says the teacher has to register these kids, anyway? I mean, it's a nice service she's providing, it's wonderful that she offers to help, and it's obviously a 'built-in' assignment for her class. But if an 18-year old kid can't take the initiative to register himself, especially if the forms are handed out in school, he certainly isn't going to take the initiative to research the candidates properly. And if he plans to go into that voting booth and casting a vote for the "prettiest" guy, he can stay home. We don't WANT people like that voting. I daresay that's how we got into the situation we're currently in.

Argentina Iraheta

Wow. I'm just, wow.

You guys are bashing teachers for trying to do a good thing? Really? A lot of kids/people won't do something without a little help. A teacher encouraging kids to vote and helping them register is allowing them to get a jump on life and set up a good habit, not hurting or coddling them.

And please don't cast all teens as shallow, brainless idiots who will vote for the "prettiest" guy PonyChaser. I was a well informed teen and so were many of the people I knew.

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