“They Belong In This Democracy Too” – Students March to the Polls


Jivan West

Senior Josh Jansen-Montoya drops off his ballot in the collection box.

We are only days away from Super Tuesday, which falls on March 3rd. On that date, 14 states will be voting to nominate a presidential primary candidate. While the Republican primary is more simple because the incumbent Donald Trump is expected to win, the Democratic ballot still has a wide spectrum of candidates. 

Today, on February 27th, Fairview students participated in a “March to the Polls” to demonstrate and encourage active voting. 

“Step one is getting [students] to register, step two is actually voting. […] The way I think of it is, it’s muscle memory. Once you’ve done it once you’re more likely to do it again,” said social studies teacher Aaron Hendrikson.

Fairview has shown record voting registration within the state, thanks to teachers like Hendrikson. 

I think students have been incredibly thoughtful citizens […] I want them to prove that they belong in this democracy too.”

“I’m rooting for [young voters]. I think a lot of older people who aren’t teachers and who don’t work with young people all of the time […] they talk about ‘kids these days’ or they talk about millenials, and from my vantage point, I think students have been incredibly thoughtful citizens […] I want them to prove that they belong in this democracy too,” said Hendrikson. 

Some teachers have made a point to educate students on politics and the issues discussed in a presidential race. It isn’t always easy, and Hendrikson finds students have to want to learn about it. 

“You have to be excited about [politics]. I’m genuinely excited about it, and I think if you talk about it in a way that you demonstrate that [excitement], then it rubs off. […] I feel like everyone is actually more politically tuned in then they’ve ever been. […] There is more curiosity. […] I think students want to know what people are talking about, and they want to know the issues more,” said Hendrikson.

A new law allows 17 year olds, who will be 18 by the general election, to now vote in the primaries. The law gives 24,000 more young voters the ability to experience democracy first hand, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Many of the students who participated in the march were still unable to vote but felt it was important to stay involved.

“Even though I’m too young, I still want to be a part of voting,” said junior Jane Strode, who won’t be 18 by the general election. 

The student turnout for the March to the Polls showed excitement for voting participation.

“Civic participation and civic duty is extremely important, especially for young people, and the more we recognize that when we are able to vote, the more we will get done. […] The more that young people show [enthusiasm] for [voting], the more I think [adults] will be forced to,” said sophomore Deven Lemercier. 

First time voters were very passionate about the event and spoke about what voting means to them. 

“We live in a democracy for a reason, and being able to be a part of that is so cool.”

“We live in a democracy for a reason, and being able to be a part of that is so cool,” said junior Darrow Klein. “My birthday is election [day] so I am really excited.”

Jivan West
About 50 students participated in the March to the Polls, holding signs and clapping.

Students say determining who to vote for can be tough when they don’t immediately align with a candidate.

“It’s really tough to decide,” said Hendrikson. “I think too many of us as voters right now are trying to play pundit, trying to be like the analysts we see on tv, so we’re deciding who to vote for based on who strategically has the best shot at winning the nomination and we’re not just voting our choice, our heart. The point is to vote for who you like and then it’ll sort out in the end.”