Clerk makes rounds to register young voters

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) -- Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen knows there are young voters out there who need a nudge to be registered in time for the November ballot.

Swensen recently completed her annual visits to Salt Lake Valley high schools, where she encourages students to register if they'll be eligible to vote.

Swensen says some years are more successful than others, but she's going to keep making the rounds as she has since taking office in 1991.

If I'm going to live in this country, I might as well decide how it is going to turn out in the future.

–Dorothy Crispin

"It's been a very rewarding process," Swensen said. "I've loved to interact with the young people and answer their questions and encourage them to get involved."

Some of the questions:

"How much will it cost?"

"What will they do to me if I don't vote?"

Once she explains there is no cost to vote -- nor is there a penalty for people who choose not to -- students take a lot more interest.

Swensen recently wrapped up this campaign with 322 new voters now registered from 10 high schools that responded to her offer to speak to students and try to get them to join the political process. Swensen said she had better luck registering young voters before the 2008 election, but there is always more interest when there is a presidential race.

The overall message Swensen is trying to get across is that registering is simple -- and necessary -- for people to be part of a democracy.

Swensen stopped at Granger High School earlier this week and registered 35 students.

"If I want my country run a different way or if I want to see a change, then this is the way I'm going to be able to voice that change," said Jonathan Chesnut, who turns 18 in July.

Thanks to Swensen's visit, 64 more students at Hunter High are registered to vote. And 63 more at Olympus. And 49 more at Judge Memorial.

"If I'm going to live in this country, I might as well decide how it is going to turn out in the future," said Dorothy Crispin, a Granger High senior who filled out her paperwork Monday.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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