Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ferguson Prompts More Students to Work the Polls

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ferguson Prompts More Students to Work the Polls

Article excerpt

FERGUSON * When polls closed Tuesday at Lee Hamilton Elementary, more than 50 people were still lined up to vote as election workers scrambled to bring in additional paper ballots.

They waited for the better part of an hour for their turn on one of three touch screen machines until more ballots arrived.

In the end, 688 of the precinct's 1,400 voters turned out at the Ferguson elementary school to have their say in an election that carries undertones of the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown.

Until voter turnout numbers are released in the days ahead, it's unclear how much of a role the shooting played in voter enthusiasm.

But there were hints Tuesday from people such as McCluer High School senior Victor Sy.

Sy, 18, was working Election Day at First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson, waking up before the sun rose to spend about 12 hours helping out at the polls.

The Brown shooting has prompted students such as Sy and his classmates studying government at McCluer High to take an even greater interest in the election process.

"I wanted to have the experience," Sy said.

In previous years when the St. Louis County Election Board has asked for student volunteers, a handful of students would sign up, teacher Mike Baxter said. This year, 26 participated, some because of recent events in Ferguson.

"It's putting their voice out there, and no matter how big or small, their vote is worth something," another McCluer senior, Leah Harold, said between handing out "I voted" stickers at a polling place near her school.

Harold lives near the Ferguson Police Department, the site of several protests since Brown's shooting. Sy, Harold and the other Ferguson-Florissant School District students had the start of their school year delayed after days of unrest.

One woman who said she had been voting at First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson for 61 years was surprised to see about two dozen people there around 10 a. …

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