Students help facilitate voting process

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You may see some younger faces helping facilitate the voting process this year.

The program is called Future Vote, and it recruited 3,200 students in Montgomery County to participate in the 2016 Presidential Election.

“Future Vote’s goal is to incorporate students grades six through twelve into the whole visceral experience of democracy in action,” said Dr. Gilberto Zelaya, Outreach Program Coordinator for Board of Elections.

Ryan Utz started his work in Future Vote, handing out stickers as a sixth grader.

Now, six years later, he holds one of the leading roles at a polling center.

“My responsibility as an election judge is to expedite the voting process to make sure that we can get people in and out as efficiently as possible while also maintaining the accuracy required there,” said Ryan Utz, Student Election Judge.

Election judges must be at least 17-years-old by Election Day.

They can earn up to $250 or receive Student Service Learning credits.

700 seniors in high school are participating as election judges this year. 

The Board of Elections hopes to see 1,000 serve in the 2018 election.

“It behooves each parent to involve their kids in the program, but also to expose the children beyond what they see on TV,” said Dr. Zelaya.

“I really want to go into political science. I really like the experience of being open to see everybody’s different views, and helping out with the registration process for the people that need some assistance,” said Tania Otero Martinez, Student Election Judge.

Both Ryan and Tania bring a unique skill set to Lake Seneca Elementary School.

“I actually am a bilingual, ‘Hablo un poco espanol,’” said Utz.

Every polling center is required to have a bilingual election worker in Montgomery County.

“I am very happy to be an American today, when everyone gets to exercise their rights,” said Martinez.

“Nowadays, what I’ve seen in my school, there’s definitely a sense of civic apathy. That’s something I want to re-energize with this program,” said Utz.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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