TCCS students receive crash course in voting

Warren County Director of Elections and Voter Registrar Lisa Rivett helps Tidioute Community Charter School seniors (from left) Ethan Pearson, Gina Magda, and Korrine Sauers practice on a Warren County voting machine Wednesday.

At age 18, Pennsylvania residents have the right to vote.

To encourage young people to prepare to take on that civic duty, the Warren County Director of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Warren County collaborated on a number of visits to county high schools over the past two weeks.

On Wednesday, Director of Elections and Voter Registrar Lisa Rivett and LWV Membership Chair Michelle Gray addressed the U.S. government class at Tidioute Community Charter School.

Rivett gave the students some background on their government representatives and allowed them to practice with the county’s voting machines. Several students took turns on the machines.

She also talked about the current redrawing of the state’s congressional districts. “We’re going to be the 15th Congressional District,” Rivett said. Congressman Glenn Thompson, currently the representative for the fifth district which includes Warren County, lives within the boundaries of the new 15th and is eligible to run for re-election here.

Rivett explained that the state’s lieutenant governor and governor candidates are separate in the primary, and the winners are put on the same ticket in the general election.

Rivett and Gray encouraged the students to register and vote.

“A lot of people only vote in the presidential elections,” Rivett said. “Every election is important.”

Local representatives, including township supervisors and borough and city council members, have more direct impacts on the day-to-day lives of students than the national leaders, she said.

And she encouraged voters to take their responsibility seriously. “This is serious stuff,” she said. “These are the people that run your government. Be serious about your write-ins. Be serious about your voting.”

Students who turn 18 before the next election — whether it be the primary election in May or the general election in November — are eligible to register.

The deadline to register for the May 15 primary is April 16.

To vote on candidates in the primary in Pennsylvania, a voter must be registered as either a Democrat or a Republican. “Pennsylvania has closed primaries,” Rivett explained.

All registered voters may vote on referendum questions that appear on ballots in their precincts.

Some of the students may participate in the elections in more than a voting role. Rivett invited those who were interested to sign up as student poll workers.