With an April birthday, Harrison Lutz was going to miss his first opportunity to vote for president by six months, but he didn't let it stop him from getting up close and personal with the democratic process this election day.
The Vista Ridge senior signed up through his government class to be an election-day poll worker at Leander High School and got to see the inter-workings of election day.
“When we first opened we had a big line out the door, but the rest of the day was a pretty slow trickle,” he said. “Apparently the public libraries were busy all day, but not so much for us.”
In spite of the quieter day, Lutz observed a great diversity in the turnout.
“There were a couple of points without much to do, but I think it was great to see the different types of people coming in. There was a wide range of people and it felt like anybody and everybody came out to vote.”
The decision to take part was about a chance to learn about how elections work.
“Up until this year I haven't been super aware of how the election process works and I saw this as an opportunity to meet people, learn about the process and really get hands on with the entire thing. To me it was not about the vote or this candidate or the other, it is more about a civil service.”
Taking the responsibility to vote seriously is something Lutz hopes everyone learns from this election.
“I think you may be just one person, but your one vote could really make a difference in how this country is run over the next four years,” he said. “Everyone's votes matter for the next generation and the next one, deciding which direction the country takes for nearly half a decade. This election is projected to ha e a lot of voters, which is awesome, but apparently in the past it was not taken as seriously as it should be. It's a much bigger deal than many people make it.”
The idea that younger generations are not interested in politics is not true, according to Lutz.
“Politics is very heavily debated at school and that's where I realized that through social media, laptops and phones, we have all this information available to us,” he said. “I think this election has made everything very open to people my age, where in the past you really had to watch the news for the information. A lot more people are learning a lot more about the election and the politics of it all, especially people my age.”
Working as clerk, Lutz was tasked with making sure voters were registered and their identification and credentials were all correct and valid.
The main hiccup he saw among voters was based on county lines.
“A lot of people didn't realize if you registered in Travis County you couldn't vote in Williamson County, but with parts of Leander in both counties it came up a lot,”he said. “We had to give those people provisional ballots.”
One key thing Lutz learned on his day as a volunteer was that the system is much more secure than many people think.
“At first I was cautious about it because I didn't really know the process,” he said. “You here all these things about issues and problems, but there's not a lot that can be done to mess with it – especially with the electronic machines – and if anything it built my faith in it and put it in a good light for me.”