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  • July 2019
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Get out the vote!

Last week, Pittsburghers turned out to vote in the May primaries.  That is, Pittsburghers over the age of 18 helped decide which local candidates will go on to the November election.  In contrast, Takoma Park, Maryland, has just passed a measure giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in municipal elections.

votes entitled to complainmeme from https://www.facebook.com/memethevote/photos_stream

Many other communities in the United States are considering lowering their voting ages as well; several countries around the world have recently lowered the age to 16.  One argument to support lowering the voting age is that young people also have a lot at stake when it comes to who is making decisions in our country.   Another argument is that by enfranchising younger people, the country will have more lifelong voters.

one does not simplymeme from https://www.facebook.com/memethevote/photos_stream

Opponents of lowering the voting age question the decision-making ability of teens.  However, as with many other social and political issues, like the drinking age, driving age, enlistment age, and age to be tried as an adult, it is difficult to pinpoint a cutoff age.

What do you think?  Do you think that a 16-year-old can make as informed and logical decisions as an 18-year-old?  Would you like to vote at age 16?  Leave your comments and opinions!

In the meantime, as you wait to turn 18 to be able to vote here in PA, check out these books.

Declare Yourself

Teen Power Politics

Wide Awake

As if being 12 3-4 isn't bad enough

The Misfits

Happy reading!

-Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

Fictional Elections

There’s a big election coming up in November. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. And if you’re 18 or turning 18 before November, you might want to look at Corey’s post about voting and voting resources or our library’s Voter and Election Information page.

While you’re waiting for election excitement, here’s a list of fictional stories about school and national politics, and all the drama, backstabbing and stress that such things entail:

All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School / Janette Rallison

When head cheerleader Samantha Taylor does poorly on the SAT exam, she determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president, but her razor wit and acid tongue make her better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes.

My Perfect Life / Dyan Sheldon

Ella has no interest in running for class president at her suburban New Jersy high school, but her off-beat friend Lola tricks her into challenging the rich and overbearing Carla Santini in a less-than-friendly race.

Vote For Larry / Janet Tashijian

Not yet eighteen years old, Josh, a.k.a. Larry, comes out of hiding and returns to public life, this time to run for President as an advocate for issues of concern to youth and to encourage voter turnout.

I am a genius of unspeakable evil and I want to be your class president /Josh Lieb

In Omaha, Nebraska, twelve-year-old Oliver Watson has everyone convinced that he’s extremely stupid and lazy, but he’s actually a very wealthy, evil genius, and when he decides to run for seventh-grade class president, nothing will stand in his way.

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

Schooled by Gordon Korman

Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.

The Misfits / James Howe

Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names

Popular Vote / Micol Ostow

In an election year, sixteen-year-old Erin Bright sets aside her familiar supporting role as daughter of the mayor and girlfriend of the student body president to stand up for what she believes in and protect an historic park from being replaced by a gas station.

Confessions of a First Daughter / Cassidy Calloway

Unfortunately for high school senior Morgan Abbott, every mistake she makes ends up as a front-page headline because her mom is the President of the United States. When her mom has to slip away on secret business, Morgan acts as a decoy in her place.


First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover & First Daughter: White House Rules / Mitali Perkins

During her father’s presidential campaign, sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton, who was adopted from Pakistan at the age of three, struggles with campaign staffers who want to give her a more “all-American” image and create a fake weblog in her name.

Once sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton’s father is elected president of the United States, the adopted Pakistani-American girl moves into the White House and makes some decisions about how she is going to live her life in the spotlight.

Dragged into the political turmoil of a presidential election year, fourteen-year-old Cooper Jewett, who runs a New Hampshire dairy farm since his grandfather’s death, stands up for himself and makes it clear whose first boy he really is.
A sophomore girl stops a presidential assassination attempt, is appointed Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, and catches the eye of the very cute First Son.
When Samantha, the seventeen-year-old daugher of a wealthy, perfectionistic, Republican state senator, falls in love with the boy next door, whose family is large, boisterous, and just making ends meet, she discovers a different way to live, but when her mother is involved in a hit-and-run accident Sam must make some difficult choices.
Sixteen-year-old Jessica discovers that her mother, a charismatic presidential candidate, sold Jessica’s soul to the devil in exchange for political power.
In the not-too-distant future, when a gay Jewish man is elected president of the United States, sixteen-year-old Duncan examines his feelings for his boyfriend, his political and religious beliefs, and tries to determine his rightful place in the world.
Fifteen-year-old Isabelle loves her impoverished North Carolina beach community, but when her grandmother must enter a nursing home, Izzie is placed with distant relatives she never knew–a state senator and his preppy wife and children.
Emma’s senator-father is running for president, and when her rebellious style and indifference to rules and convention create problems, she relies on her good friends, who are also the daughters of well-known people, to help her gain perspective
Lenny Flem Jr. is the only one standing between his evil-genius best friend, Casper, and world domination as Casper uses a spectacularly convincing fake mustache and the ability to hypnotize to rob banks, amass a vast fortune, and run for president.
Tired of not being noticed, fifteen-year-old Milo decides to run for president of the United States, and through the course of the campaign, he discovers that he–and other teenagers–can make a real difference.
Fourteen-year-old Zach learns he has the same special abilities as his father, who was the President’s globe-trotting troubleshooter until “the Bads” killed him, and now Zach must decide whether to use his powers in the same way at the risk of his own life.
When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner’s political campaign to oust the town’s corrupt mayor.
Happy reading! – Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Our Library, Our Future

To spread awareness of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative, CLP – Hazelwood had an essay contest! Students in grades four through eight from Pittsburgh Mifflin PreK-8 wrote essays about the importance of voting and why we vote. We are pleased to announce the two winners:

Congratulations to Melina and Pearl!

Click here for more information on voting in Pennsylvania! If you are already registered you can find your polling place here. If you are not yet old enough to vote you can still make a difference by reminding friends and family members to vote on November 8th!

First Place: Melina (6th grade, age 11)


What is voting? That is a question you might be asking yourself right now. Voting is when people in America come to a place near them called a “voting poll”, and choose who they want to be in charge of something. For example, there is a vote held in all of America to pick the president, but there is a smaller vote held in a city to pick the mayor.

It is important to vote because it gets your feelings or opinions out in the open public. For instance, if my classroom is holding a vote for class president and 50% of the kids don’t vote, if they did vote it could change the election.

People want to vote because they want to share their opinion and make a difference. One vote does make a difference because if there was a vote on the class pet, and the results of the vote was: Hamster – 11, Turtle – 10, and Fish – 9, and if there were 4 people who didn’t vote, if they had all voted for the fish, the class pet would’ve been a fish. But the pet picked was a hamster because they decided not to vote.

In conclusion, this is what voting is, why it is important, and why we as a people vote. I hope you learned something about voting from reading my essay!

Honorable Mention: Pearl (6th grade, age 11)

How Voting Can Affect Our Community

Voting can affect our community in many ways. Here are two ways: adding or taking away of something important, like a library or playground.

An elected official might give money to improve or buy new things for a library or playground. Thing might only happen if you vote for the right candidate.

If you vote for a candidate and they take something important out like a library or playground, then the community won’t be as nice a place to live in.

You can conclude that voting is important because it states your opinion. Opinions can be different for different people.

(Michael – CLP Hazelwood)

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