Student Election Program to engage teens

New group encourages youth voting education


Yonah Davis

Juniors Maggie Klein and Amelia Ryan attend the Student Election Program meeting Feb. 12 at St. Louis Park City Hall. According to election specialist Robert Stokka, the program will have several meetings to explore different civic engagement topics.

Talia Lissauer

As sophomore Dahlia Krebs looked for ways to make a difference in her community, she discovered a program designed to incorporate students in the election process.

“The (Student Election Program) run by the city of St. Louis Park asking (high schoolers) to be a part of the election,” Krebs said. “I wanted to get involved in the city, and it seemed like a great way to get involved.”

According to election specialist Robert Stokka, program participants will discuss civics topics.

Sophomore Ben Cantor said acting as a student election judge motivated him to be a part of the election program.

“I thought I should continue with that program, and I’m interested in learning more about student engagement,” Cantor said.

Stokka said the program is available to all Park and Benilde students.

“We don’t want to create any barriers for students. There’s no application just ninth through 12th grade for any student in St. Louis Park, including Benilde,” Stokka said.

According to Cantor, he is interested in continuing to implement rank choice voting in Minnesota.

“Make some good connections and learn more about the way our elections are run and I would like to help with the roll out of the rank choice voting system,” Cantor said.

According to Krebs, the program’s goal is to teach people the importance of voting so they will be more likely to vote in the future.

“Hopefully we can educate a lot of people about voting and hopefully help people understand the voting system,” Krebs said.

According to Stokka, there is no limit to the number of kids that can join; if they outgrow their current room then they will move to a bigger one.

“We are open to as many students as we can fit, and if we grow past the council chambers, then we will look for other areas to host us,” Stokka said.

For more information on the student election program visit the St. Louis Park city website.