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Rockford Lutheran says new student voting law echoes current election judge program

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford Lutheran says a new law allowing students time to leave school to vote goes hand-in-hand with a current program. It says the current program allows students an entire day out of school.

Rockford Lutheran School in Rockford says a new law allowing students two hours to leave school and vote during an election comes at no surprise.

The new law signed on Wednesday by Gov. JB Pritzker will allow voting-age high school students two hours during an election to leave school and go vote. Rockford Lutheran says the program goes hand-in-hand with its current election judge program that allows students a whole day to participate in the election process.

"Winnebago County came to me as the government teacher at our school to see if we could recruit students to help out with being election judges," says Steve Vaughan, Rockford Lutheran government teacher.

The school says the program teaches students about participation.

"The things they learn [are] really important and that is that participation matters," says Don Gillingham, Rockford Lutheran School executive director. "As they're sitting at the judge's table counting how many people that did not show up, they get the sense that the people who show are up are the ones who make the decisions."

"It energizes students into the election process," says Vaughan. "It helps them to understand the election process a little better."

The school says the biggest lesson students learn comes from the voters taking to the polls.

"Even if one in ten of those people tells them a story they're gonna have 25 stories from a group of people that they would never run into or never interact with before," says Gillingham.

Teachers and faculty at Rockford Lutheran say they hand-pick students for the election judge program based on academics and behavior.

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Alexxis Kerry

Alexxis Kerry is a multimedia journalist at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2019 as a Quintern.

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