Before her high school social studies class on Friday, 16-year-old Demaleena Long wasn’t sure about voting. ”There’s so many people in the world,” she said, “and then there’s me. It’s not like my vote would be the deciding vote for somebody. I didn’t think it mattered.”
Less than half of eligible Hawaii residents voted in the 2008 election. But when I visited teacher Jason Duncan’s open-window classroom at Mililani High School, I learned it doesn’t always have to be that way. Duncan’s students debate policy issues, talk about candidates, discuss the voting process and, with the help of a group called Kids Voting Hawaii, practice an online version of the voting process, so they’ll know what to expect at the polls.