South Orangetown Central School District

Rockland County Board of Elections representatives Rikki Kramer and Gianna DiMarsico met with Tappan Zee High School 12th-grade social studies classes throughout the day today to encourage eligible students to register to vote.

TZHS History Teacher Christine Drivas has spearheaded the annual voter registration initiative which dates back at least a decade. “This is civics in action and it helps students understand the value of participating in the democratic process,” she explained.

In previous years, Board of Elections representatives set up a table in the auditorium lobby for students to stop by. This year, Ms. Drivas suggested something different. “We moved into the classrooms–all nine periods–to enable broader, direct interaction,” she said. “I thought this would be more impactful than the more informal way we’ve done this before.”

Ms. Kramer and Ms. DiMarsico walked students through the voter registration process, pausing to explain what selecting a party affiliation means, how to sign up to work the polls and why students headed to college should consider requesting an absentee ballot. Ms. Kramer also noted that New York State is in the process of making voter reforms, such as allowing early voting, which will go into effect in time for this year’s general election in November.

Students were urged to register and vote, in national, state and local elections. “Local development, school budgets…these things impact you and your family. Your vote counts directly in local elections,” Ms. Drivas advised. “If you’re planning to come back and settle here, keep in mind that decisions being made today will impact your children.”

History Teacher Amy Rosenthal described returning from college and seeing former neighbors and classmates at the polls. “You really get a strong sense of your community when you go out to vote,” she said.

Board of Elections reps talk with students