Younger generation starting early to become politically engaged

“She later told me that she was the first one to register ever in her family.”

VIDEO: Younger generation starting early to become politically engaged

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Robby Philyaw turned 18 this year and is already running a polling location as an election judge for Potter County.

He says he has been watching his mom volunteer as a poll worker since he was five years old.

“I’ve just been following in her footsteps,” said Philyaw

This year they will both be election judges.

Philyaw knew this was a possibility. He’s been working at the polls since he was 16 and has spent some time shadowing his election judges to prepare for when it’d be his turn. That turn, came this year.

“I feel like I could help lower the statistic of the younger generation not voting as much and I could be kinda a representative for the younger generation in politics,” said Philyaw

He says he has seen young people get involved and actually went to high school with some of the poll workers he will be in charge of this year.

But, while some people pass the torch of civic duty, others are trying to ignite it.

The staff at the student life department of Amarillo college created a campaign with an informative pamphlet, events and giveaways to encourage students to register to vote.

“She later told me that she was the first one to register ever in her family. That was not part of her family, that was not something they partake in," said Miranda McHugh, administrative assistant for Student Life at Amarillo College “It was really neat because she said ‘Thank you, I do want to be a part of this. I do want to make those decisions and be part of my community. I’ve lived here my whole life and I have a right to vote for the stuff that goes on here.’ So that was really cool to be a part of.”

McHugh along with the staff there became volunteer deputy registrars and have been able to register around 400 students.

The president of the student government association for Amarillo College was involved in this campaign and was one of those students.

“Personally, like this is my first year doing it, and for me it’s just the fact that your voice does matter at the end of the day," said Ruiz "So, for us it was trying to get younger students who may not think their vote matters to understand that it really does.”

The staff there said young people may not understand the power of their voice, or maybe not think what is on the ballot will affect them.

Through the campaign they made it their goal to teach them about how the political process works and to tap into the power of their vote.

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