QHS student rallies 17-year-old voters

Many 17-year-olds in Illinois will be able to vote in the next election.

Many 17-year-olds in Illinois will be able to vote in the next election. This new group of voters exists in Illinois thanks to a law that went into effect this month.

On January 1st, Illinois became one of 20 states to let young voters into the polls.

The only stipulation is they must turn 18-years-old by the next general election to be eligible to vote in the primary election.

Students at Quincy High School are now sending in their registration forms to participate in the next Illinois primary election.

When Quincy High School Junior Julian Engel found out he could vote in the next election, he immediately registered.

He's asking school administrators to allow a voter registration booth to be put on campus.

"Voting registration is here in the school, and we're going to have people signing students up," Engel said.

Engel's worried students won't sign up by the February 18th deadline. "Seeing as it's coming so fast. It doesn't look like we're going to get a huge turnout," Engel explained. "It really just hasn't been publicized that 17-year-olds can vote."

Teachers at QHS are proud that their students are getting involved in politics.

QHS History teacher Justin Sievert is ecstatic students are taking an initiative to register.

"It's Great. It's a positive. It's such a positive feeling knowing that they're are students taking initiative, already at such a young age," Sievert said.

Sievert says it's important that students get involved because their votes will shape the future of the country.

"I talk about this with my classes a lot, the importance of voting, which always in the grand scheme of thing of everyday life a lot of people tend to over look it, which is probably one of the bigger reasons why we have such low voter turnout," Sievert said.

He is proud of Engel's passion to get classmates signed up to vote. "I hope that he keeps that drive going," Sievert said.

Engels hopes students take this privilege seriously because their action will impact the future of their lives.

"It's your future. You're talking about the future of the nation," Sievert said.

In order for the new voters to cast their ballots in the March 18th primary, they need to be registered to vote in the state of Illinois by February 18th.

(Story by KHQA's Derek Frank.)