GI teen recognized with first ever Secretary of State Citation

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Secretary of State Bob Evnens visited Northwest High School on Tuesday where local teenagers set up a voter registration booth. He recognized their hard work and gave out the first ever Secretary of State Citation to 17-year-old GISH student Kendall Bartling.

Bartling has been working with the Hall County Election Office for a while and also recently training to be a deputy registrar.

“I’ve not had a chance to vote in an election yet,” he said after receiving the recognition. “In the absence of that I have just dedicated myself to make sure others are able to exercise that.”

Bartling registered more than 50 new voters just in the last five weeks. He told Local4 News even when he’s not at registration events, he still encourages everyone around him to do their civic duty.

“Even if you don’t register voters at events or if you just have conversations with people, it’s better to do something then to do nothing,” Bartling said. “Even just my conversations with people got four or five people to register outside of events.”

Elections officials said it’s so important for people to register to vote and for young people to understand that as well.

“When I talk to student groups a lot of students feel like government doesn’t effect them, but there’s not really a facet in any day of our life that isn’t affected by government,” Hall County Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet said. “From the roads that we drive on, to the houses we live in and the wages we are paid. I think the sooner people can get involved in their government, the better the government is because we are stronger when all voices are heard.”

Bartling and the other students running the booth on Tuesday plan to also set up at other high schools across Hall County.

Residents can also register to vote online, at the DMV or at the Election Office.

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