Social Studies teacher Jan Goldberg has been registering voters who turn 18 at Riverside-Brookfield High School in the Chicago (IL) suburbs for 20 years! She explains: “I use about 20 students a year to help and act as deputy registrars.” County officials come to the school to train and deputize the students.
At the last big drive of this school year, we worked with the rest of the senior class who were too young to register at the previous drive, Goldberg reports. “We registered over 120 kids in two days! That's a record, I think. Plus we registered about 65-75 earlier in the year for the primary.”
A little history: Goldberg first became a voter registrar during political campaigns in 1984 and continued in1992, registering voters in the western suburbs and on the west side of Chicago. That year, she started nonpartisan registration of students at the high school where she has taught since the mid-70s. Students became deputized about two years later.
How often does she register students? “We have been doing this ever since  about 3 times per year in the student cafe.” And what motivated Goldberg to start and continue this project year after year? “Of course I became motivated by teaching social studies for 38 years. How can anyone NOT be inspired by people in the past who risked EVERYTHING for the right to cast a ballot?”
Goldberg’s student deputy registrars clearly take their responsibility seriously. This year, one of them is Grace Moore: “Helping with voter registration was fun. I liked being able to put voters into the community. Even if they do not vote, I feel that I have made some difference in my school and neighborhood. I always liked helping Mrs. Goldberg. I have done this for two years now.” Another deputy registrar, Meredythe DiVittorio, declared, “I love participating in voter registration because it feels so rewarding knowing that I'm doing my civic duty. I feel a part of the larger democratic system.” Max Ohle, a classmate, echoed her sentiments: “I really enjoyed registering my fellow students to vote. It is critical to the success of our democracy and our country.”
To top things off, Goldberg is also a League member and shares this story: “I was invited to join the LaGrange League in 2001 by the president of that chapter, Krista Grimm, who was my former student! She reminded me that I had taken her to a NOW [National Organization for Women] meeting in the 1980s and she wanted to return the favor. I have been a member ever since….” Mrs. Goldberg, thank you for your work to Power the Vote in the 2012 election season!
Learn more about the League’s high school registration project and tell us your story.