Sen. Scott White Introduces Bill to Lower Voting Age for School Board Elections
For Immediate Release
For Information: Jesse Seidman — (206) 605-3061
Olympia, Wash., Feb. 7, 2011–On Monday, Jan. 31, Washington State Senator Scott White (D-46) introduced landmark legislation in Olympia that could give Washington State’s high school students far greater influence over their education.
Senator White proposed Senate Bill 5621 that, if passed, would allow public school students as young as 14 years old to vote in school board elections in their districts. If passed, the bill would effectively give Washington State’s students a voice in picking and choosing the school board representatives who make crucial decisions on budgets, curriculum and fundamental education policies that impact students every day.
Passage of the bill would make Washington the first state in the nation to afford students under the age of 18 the right to vote in elections that directly impact their future.
“The current school board situation in Washington State blatantly disregards the rights of students,” wrote campaign co-founder Jesse Seidman.
”What we learn in high school and whether we even learn at all, impacts our ability to ‘pursue happiness’ for the rest of our lives. Yet, those directly impacted by school board elections have no say in their own education.”
The Campaign to Lower the Voting Age for School Board Elections was started in 2010 by three current and former students at Seattle’s Garfield High School, who lobbied their state representatives in Olympia after creating a viral Facebook signature drive. The students, Jesse Seidman, Caleb Raible Clark, and Alex Jonlin, received guidance from long-time Garfield history teacher Hersh Mandelman. The Campaign worked in conjunction with the National Youth Rights Association and members of JSA. The bill has also been taken up by the Washington State Youth Advisory Board.
“In recent years many states have introduced bills to lower the voting age. Washington could serve as a pilot program for the rest of the country,” said NYRA Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz.
Senate Bill 5621 Establishing Voting Age For School Board Elections was referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections.
To read more about The Campaign to Lower the Voting Age for School Board Elections, visit the group’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lower-Voting-Age-for-School-Board-Elections-Across-Washington-State/265386205815?v=info .
About JSA: Providing civics education and leadership programs for more than 75 years, JSA is the largest student-run organization in the United States. School-year programs take place in nearly 500 high schools in 35 states, with more than 10,500 dues paying members. A diverse cross section of young leaders throughout the entire country acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be active, informed and responsible citizens, voters, statesmen and stateswomen through their participation in political awareness conventions and academic summer programs. Contact: Jeff Harris, email@example.com, (650) 347-1600.
About National Youth Rights Association: A national, youth-led organization whose mission is to promote and defend the legal and civil rights of young people in the United States, NYRA is based in Washington, D.C. and was founded in 1998. NYRA has over 10,000 members and has been featured on CNN, Fox News, PBS, Fox and in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Parade magazine, and numerous other publications. Contact: Alex Koroknay-Palicz, firstname.lastname@example.org, (301) 738-6769.
About Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council: LYAC is a group of 22 youths ages 14-18 from around the state who meet several times a year to advise the Legislature on issues of importance to youth. It was established by the Washington State Legislature in 2005, and since has had an impact on numerous pieces of legislation. Contact: LYAC Chair Ryan Snell, email@example.com.
If you would like more information or would like to schedule an interview please contact Jesse Seidman at (206) 605-3061 or at firstname.lastname@example.org