Maine East High School students Andrea Garneata and Veronica Malesinski won a video contest sponsored by the Cook County Clerk to draw attention to the change in the law allowing 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the November 2014 general election to register and vote in the March 18 primary. The video is posted on YouTube.
Clerk David Orr congratulated the students and their teachers at the Park Ridge high school during a visit Tuesday afternoon.
"Veronica and Andrea produced a wonderful video that conveys the excitement 17-year-olds have about getting to vote," Orr said in a news release. "Their enthusiasm reminds us all of the great power that our vote gives us."
Orr's office has organized voter registration drives or deputy registrar trainings at about 50 of the 80 high schools in suburban Cook County. Some schools have already registered hundreds of students.
Students were encouraged to state briefly, in videos shot at their schools, why they will register and vote in 2014.
"Andrea and Veronica are two excellent visual storytellers," Phillip Ash, who teaches video production at Maine East, said in the news release. "To produce a clear, visual, pro-voting message in 10 seconds was a good challenge for them and they were eager to do it."
"If young voters get engaged in the electoral process when they're in high school, they are more likely to participate in elections over the rest of their lives," Orr said.
Veronica said in the news release that 17-year-olds should vote "because they are the future of this country. They are the ones that are going to be affected by the policies these politicians are making."
The videos are linked to the Cook County Clerk's website, cookcountyclerk.com. Other high schools that participated were Proviso Mathematics and Science, Niles North, Palatine and Brother Rice.