LEWISTON — Motorists on Tuesday may spot high school students holding signs on Sabattus Street, East Avenue and other busy intersections.

They won’t be asking for money.

They will be encouraging Lewiston voters to go to the polls.

Their signs will say: “Honk If You’ve Voted Today” and “When Are You Going to Vote Today?”

“We were tasked to spread the word for the vote,” said Matt Hird, 15, who is enrolled in a marketing program at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

He, Muslima Abdullahi and Joel Matondo are working to generate a healthy voter turnout Tuesday, especially after the May 10 school budget referendum was rejected by six votes with a 2.8 percent voter turnout.

Also on the local ballot is the new school decision. Years in the planning, Lewiston has the opportunity to get an 880-student elementary school paid for by the state. But it must first be approved by Lewiston voters.

In class, marketing students and their teacher Tammy Sawyer researched the school budget, new school decision and strategies how to best generate voter interest.

They figured out which Lewiston High School students were eligible to vote. They made and passed out packages with information on the budget and the school referendum, along with information on how to register to vote and where to vote.

They delivered that information to seniors at marching practice last week, and to juniors who are 18.

Students also passed out information at the Business to Business convention last week in Lewiston.

They were not allowed to tell people how to vote. It had to be merely informational, Hird said.

Abdullahi said students she talked to seemed interested and willing to vote. “Some wanted to help.”

She’s also told her neighbors, family and friends.

Matondo said students hope their work will result in more people voting than the previous election.

“I was surprised. I thought a lot more people would vote,” he said of the May 10 vote. “Education is such an important aspect of anyone’s life. I thought more effort would go into voting.”

Before Friday’s graduation, Lewiston High School had more than 300 students who were 18 or older, said teacher Tammy Sawyer. “We targeted this group.”

The marketing students got a real-world lesson in communication and civics, Sawyer said, learning about the school budget and protocols involving voter registration, plus as students what they can and cannot say about the election.


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