MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Thursday, February 11, was the last day of school for South Orange-Maplewood School District students before the four-day break for Presidents' Day weekend. For Columbia High School (CHS) sophomore Josie Sandor of South Orange, it was much more than a regular school day, because in a single day she helped hundreds of her fellow students register to vote.
As Sandor explained via email, "I am really proud to say that we registered 243 students from CHS to vote!" Sandor organized the event with the help of the student council. The event was non-partisan, with organizers stating that there was no "bias towards any political campaign or party," and that voter registration forms from the Board of Elections for both the Democratic and Republican parties were available.
The voter registration day has taken a long time to plan, with Sandor beginning the process last fall, when she sent a voter registration proposal to the CHS administration.
On the day of the voter registration event, Sandor made a voter registration counter poster "to keep track of the number of students we registered," tallying 243 by the end of the day.
Asked why she believed it was important for students to register to vote, Sandor replied, "I really wanted the youth to have a voice."
Heather Sandor, Josie's mother, agreed, "I could not be happier than having my 15 year old daughter register her 18 year old brother to be able to vote. She did exactly what she set out to do and helped to give 243 young adults a voice."
Sandor's mother added, "It was very difficult to find out how to register for my oldest son who is living in South Carolina for college, it is not an easily accessible process for the youth and it really should be."
Josie Sandor does not plan to have additional voter registration dates at CHS, but mentioned that based on the success of the CHS event, one of the volunteers is hoping to plan a similar registration day at West Orange High School. Sandor is also willing to help other students to organize similar events at their own schools.