ROY — There has been a feeling of excitement at Roy High School this week during voting for student body officers — not only because new faces will be leading the school, but because of how students voted for their new leaders.
The Weber County elections office provided electronic voting machines for the students to use in an attempt to draw the youngest demographic of voters to the polls in November.
Students had to show identification to vote and had their names recorded. They also had to line up in specific lines by last name, and the votes were counted in a sealed room, all mirroring the process of regular elections.
Jennifer Morrell, election director for Weber County, got the idea from Weber State University students who work and intern in the elections office.
The results have been very positive, Morrell said as she pointed to the stack of voter registrations she has received through the week.
Morrell and another election worker, Emily Sawyer, sat across from the voting booths in the commons area all week, encouraging those who will be 18 by the general election to register to vote. They have also answered many questions from prospective voters and tried to explain the process.
Sawyer is a WSU student and she anticipated a positive result when she pitched the idea to Morrell.
"I have always loved working with high schoolers, and this is one of the things that just made sense," Sawyer said.
Morrell said they have tried to show students that voting is actually rather simple.
"They are not intimidated at all. There is no hesitation. They have been excited," Morrell said.
Current student body officers went through election training with Morrell and have conducted the voting for the student elections.
"I had no idea it was like this," Tanner Howell said, pointing to the 25-plus polling booths spread across the commons area. "I thought it was some big machine and you had to pull a lever."
Student Body President Brittni Strickland thinks many more students have voted because of the machines and the education about voting. In the past, students had to wait in long lines in the student body officers’ room, and many didn’t want to take the time. Numbers this week are high for voting, she said.
Teacher Ryan Waite brought his government class to vote before the lunch rush, and he was impressed with how the process was working for the school. As his students lined up to vote, they seemed excited.
"I like how it’s so high tech," one student shouted.
"Is this how real elections work?" said another.
Senior McKenzie Williams is already registered to vote next fall, but was glad for the chance to practice at school this week. She admits to being a little intimidated by a big decision like voting for a president.
"I’m kind of scared to do it. It is a big thing," she said.
She feels a little less nervous since she has used the machines and has a better understanding of the process. Now she can focus on who she wants to vote for, not the worry of how to do it.
Morrell hopes to conduct the program at other schools this spring and again next year to keep young voters in the know about voting.