Constitution Day went off without a hitch on Friday, September 28. The state mandated event brought together high school students from the area in an effort to inform them on the voting process. When asked what she hoped to achieve through the event, Program Manager Shannnon Zech stated, “I hope we have ignited a passion in the students to become responsible and active citizens.”
Students began flooding into the gym at 9:00 a.m. to begin registering for the workshops chosen for them by their teachers. When they were finally settled along the bleachers event host Alan Crivaro, Esq. took the podium. After welcoming the students and giving a small speech on what to expect from the event, Crivaro introduced the keynote speaker, Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley.
Kelley’s speech got off to a rocky start when a video clip he tried to play from the popular television series The Simpson’s played with crackling inaudible sound. After giving up on the clip, Kelley gave a speech educating his crowd with the history of voting and how the process works in today’s society.
After his speech, Kelley gave the microphone back to Alan Crivaro to introduce the Supreme Court Justices participating in the mock trial on the case of Crawford v. Marion County. The trial touched on question of whether or not a valid photo ID should be required when casting a ballot in person.
Dr. John C. Eastman, Esq. and Dr. Ronald L. Steiner, two law professors from Chapman University, gave compelling arguments to show the students how Supreme Court hearings play out. Dr. Eastman argued that without a requirement for a photo ID, the chances of people committing voter fraud is greatly heightened. Dr. Steiner tried to argue that cases of in person voter fraud rarely ever happen. However, Steiner’s case went out the window when Superior Court Justice Linda L. Miller asked what actual proof he had to his statement and had to admit that there was no basis to it. The justices retired to the back for a short period of time till returning with a unanimous vote to uphold the voter ID law.
When the trial was over the students were led to different workshops where they learned about the various processes of voting. They learned about how to register to vote, the influence of money in political campaigns, preparing award winning essays, what it means to be a voter, and the different voting issues that face California.
After the workshops students were led into the quad where they were given lunch. When lunch was over a mock election was held where the students were given a hands on experience with using electronic voting machines and those over 18 were allowed to register to vote.
To learn more about Constitution Day visit crfoc.org/ConstitutionDay.asp