Seniors from all six Las Cruces Public Schools high schools on Tuesday participated in an event titled “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County.” The event was organized in partnership with the League of Women Voters, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office, the Associated Students of New Mexico State University and Las Cruces Public Schools.

New Mexico State Sen. Bill Soules (D-Las Cruces), who teaches Advanced Placement Psychology at Oñate High School, vists with Terrie Dallman and Maria Flores, members of the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education, at the “Celebrating Democracy” event on Oct. 9.

New Mexico State Sen. Bill Soules (D-Las Cruces), who teaches Advanced Placement Psychology at Oñate High School, vists with Terrie Dallman and Maria Flores, members of the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education, at the “Celebrating Democracy” event on Oct. 9.

“The goal here is to help students better understand how democracy works,” said Jamie Patterson, a social studies content specialist for LCPS who helped organize the event. “Students who are over the age of 18 are able to meet the candidates, visit with them and come to understand their platforms before they vote.”

High school seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools participate in the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event on Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building. Oct. 9 is the only day on which residents may register to vote and cast their ballot.

High school seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools participate in the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event on Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building. Oct. 9 is the only day on which residents may register to vote and cast their ballot.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, was the last day of voter registration in New Mexico, as well as the first day for early voting. As such, it is the only day of the year on which residents may register to vote and cast their ballot.

“For the seniors who are 17 and will not be eligible to vote in this year’s election, our goal is to expose them to what a voting booth looks like, explain the democratic process and help demystify it,” Patterson added.

High school seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools participate in the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event on Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building. The event was organized in partnership with the League of Women Voters, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office, the Associated Students of New Mexico State University and Las Cruces Public Schools.

High school seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools participate in the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event on Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building. The event was organized in partnership with the League of Women Voters, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office, the Associated Students of New Mexico State University and Las Cruces Public Schools.

Numerous candidates and elected officials from city, county and state government participated in the non-partisan event. Candidates and office-holders from across the political spectrum were represented, from the Las Cruces City Council, Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education, Doña Ana County Commission, Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office, both houses of the New Mexico State Legislature, as well as the judiciary branch and the Public Regulation Commission.

Seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools gather to discuss voting and the democratic process during the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event, which took place Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building.

Seniors from Las Cruces Public Schools gather to discuss voting and the democratic process during the “Celebrating Democracy in Doña Ana County” event, which took place Oct. 9 at the Doña Ana County Government Building.

 

Several panel discussions and student forums drew the students into the conversation, with the goal of improving civic engagement. Students were also given the opportunity to tour the County Government Building and participate in voting demonstrations.

Representatives from ASNMSU visited with students about student government and college life.

— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, dwillis@lcps.net