DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

October 25, 2012

Pinkerton Academy helps students become voters

By Julie Huss jhuss@derrynews.com
Derry News

---- — DERRY — Pinkerton Academy seniors spent lunch time last week hoping to make a difference.

Qualified students were invited to register to vote during their lunch periods Oct. 16, part of the school’s efforts to get students involved in the election process and officially sign up to cast ballots.

Pinkerton’s Citizenship Committee hosted the registration.

Voter checklist volunteers from all of Pinkerton’s sending towns — Derry, Chester and Hampstead — staffed tables in the senior cafe and helped students sign up to vote.

Officials also offered voter information about the process and answered any questions.

“It’s good to see interest,” Derry checklist official Renee Routhier said. “That the next generation is stepping up, it’s heartwarming.”

By midday, she had already signed up more than 20 new voters.

Joining Routhier at the table were officials from Hampstead and Chester, also hoping to bring some new blood onto the checklist.

At times, officials said, students were lined up three deep, waiting to register.

Pinkerton senior Mike Thomson said he was happy to sign up to vote.

“It’s my duty as a citizen,” he said. “I think (the election) is very interesting this year.”

Although Thomson didn’t give out details on his choice for president, he said he was leaning in a specific direction.

John Chakarian wasn’t on the fence.

“I already have my mind made up,” he said.

At the end of the day, Derry’s checklist was 49 names stronger; Chester and Hampstead each registered 15 new voters.

Pinkerton teacher Roger Konstant said having voter registration at the school helps boost the student voting numbers and also brings awareness to the importance of getting involved.

“It is their civic duty to register and then vote in the upcoming election,” Konstant said. “If we can start these students early on at the age of 18, perhaps they will be lifelong voters and remain engaged in the political process.”

Konstant said he saw a lot of young energy and excitement as new voters signed up.

“Maybe that will rub off on those that did not,” he said.

Konstant said Pinkerton’s contemporary issues class had several students that took their voting plan further and were volunteering with some local campaigns.

Routhier said Derry planned to host several more voter registrations, including a visit to Birch Heights retirement facility, where many new residents move in from other towns and want to sign up.

Derry’s checklist supervisors also will host a registration on Oct. 27 from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at the municipal center.