Local elections matter 

The elections for local offices in Athens as well as primary elections for the state of Georgia will be held on May 24, and Senior Aseel Mansour plans to vote for the first time. 

Mansour is part of a community oriented group called Family Connection, through which she has conversations with local politicians. She says these conversations motivate her to vote. 

 “Just hearing about ways that they hope to fix schools and help schools like Cedar Shoals motivates me to vote in general, especially with the importance of politics in the past three years,” Mansour said. 

Government teacher Jesse Evans believes that voting in local elections is an extremely important way to participate in your community because smaller county level offices have a large impact on daily life.  

“This commission has approved a $15 minimum wage for government employees here, and they’ve worked to prevent evictions during the pandemic whenever the economy tanked,” Evans said.

The commission has also provided money to local youth organizations that Cedar students are involved in.   

“Recently, this Commission gave funds to youth organizations, $500,000 was given to six different youth development programs. Boys and Girls Club, Timothy, Chess and Community,” Evans said. Voting also decides the school board, which implements policies for schools and hires the superintendent. 

Mansour points out that there is a lot more communication with local politicians than national legislators. 

“Voting in local elections feels like it’s more important than voting in a national election. It’s much easier to talk to our officials and commissioners and such,” Mansour said.

She believes that a major obstacle to students being as politically aware is access to political information. 

“I think if students knew how to register to vote, which I don’t think many students know how to do, we could get students to the polls and make voting more accessible,” Mansour said.

Both Evans and Mansour say that more school time should be devoted to learning about elections and local politics. 

“Something as simple as having a table propped up during lunch to talk to students about registering in the local election,” Mansour said. 

“I think it’d be great to use advisement as an opportunity to inform our students of the different offices that are on the ballot,” Evans said. 

Evans has done a substantial amount to get students more involved in politics. “In 2018 I arranged a field trip to go vote for the first time,” Evans said.

Outside of elections, there are many ways for Cedar students to support the local community. Much of the help they can do is get more people to participate in politics. 

“I recommend that students get involved in campaigns so that they can see what that’s like,” Evans said. 

Mansour recommends that students do voter mobilization using their phones.  

“Texting people, getting people that they know to vote, and advocating for people to vote,” Mansour said.

Tumelo Johnson

Sophomore Tumelo Johnson is a Staff Writer during his second year with BluePrints. He hopes to pursue journalism or academia and would like to learn more about editing this year. The Southern Interscholastic Press Association attendee appreciates the opportunity BluePrints gives him to bond with people.