Voting 101: Human Rights Watch Student Task Force holds mock election, teaches students how to vote

Aviva+Intveld+%2719+and+Lena+Jones+%2720+cast+their+votes+at+today%27s+mock+election.++Students+had+the+opportunity+to+learn+about+and+vote+on+Proposition+10.

Photo credit: Nicki Rosenberg

Aviva Intveld ’19 and Lena Jones ’20 cast their votes at today’s mock election. Students had the opportunity to learn about and vote on Proposition 10.

In honor of tomorrow’s midterm elections, the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force organized a mock election for the Archer community. Students watched a short video on Proposition 10 — which would expand cities’ right to impose rent control policies — voted on it in booths and received “I voted” stickers. 

Junior and Human Rights Watch Student Task Force co-president Allie Worchell said that the activity aimed to increase both civic engagement and awareness of human rights. She cited “low turnout” among youth — which was around 22 percent for millennials in the 2014 midterms — and extreme partisanship as barriers to voting with human rights in mind.

“It’s really important that students of a young age learn the importance of voting, and not just voting for a political party but voting for human rights,” she said. “Everyone has basic human rights and it’s important that [youth] know that when they’re voting.”

Junior and club secretary Arianna Miller said that the activity also showed students the importance of researching issues in advance.

“We ask[ed] the students to describe what [the video] said and they actually got the information wrong because it’s a difficult subject to understand,” Miller said.  “You don’t get any outside information while voting, which is why you need to educate yourself beforehand.”

Sophomore Sydney Banks said that the mock election helped her to visualize what the process will be like when she is eligible to vote officially.

“We don’t have the opportunity to vote because we’re underage,” she said, “so being able to learn about it will get us more excited and ready to vote when it’s our time.”