Informing Leesville Voters One Step at a Time


The Voter Registration Club’s sign from the Fall Fest Parade was held on October 23, 2020. The club was formed this year by Megan Sandy and Claire Theunissen. (Photo used by permission of Claire Theunissen)

This election year is a hectic time for new voters, and the Voter Registration Club is trying to help new voters at Leesville get quality information.

It is safe to say that this has been a peculiar election year with COVID-19, an empty Supreme Court seat a month before an election, and more. 

Not just the national election is peculiar; our local elections are different, too. The U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham has confirmed accusations that he had an extramarital affair earlier this year. 

With those factors, ads have been swirling around, and disinformation has been swirling around. It has been a crazy experience for voters this year to navigate. 

The Voter Registration Club, created this year, helps out with the polls, informs new voters at our school, and delivers accurate candidates’ information.

First Time Voters and Seniors Helping Out

Club President

Claire Theunissen, president of the Voter Registration Club, talks about the ads this election cycle and how the Voter Registration Club is doing its part to help voters at Leesville. 

“I think most Americans tend to focus on the presidential election instead of looking closely at the state elections,” Theunissen wrote when asked why she created the club this year. “With the election just coming this year, I could understand why a senior last year wouldn’t have felt the need to create this club, but I felt like we needed this club.”

“Students need to become more educated about all the candidates on their ballot and the voting process.”

Theunissen listed the ways the Voter Registration Club is doing their part helping Leesville voters. “As a non-partisan organization, we focus specifically on delivering the facts, who is on your ballot this year, and what are their viewpoints? What are your rights as a voter?” Theunissen wrote. “We want to ensure that everyone knows what dates they need to register and how they can request other ballots easily.”

“Our mission is to close the race and age gap once and for all by making everyone knowledgeable voters.”

As previously stated, U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham had an extramarital affair. His opponent, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, has been running ads about the affair, saying Cal is untrustworthy. 

Ads have changed over these past few years, so Theunissen has this to say about ads locally. “I think in a political campaign everything is fair game and candidates must be ready to be held accountable for their taboo actions,” Theunissen wrote. “I don’t think Tillis is taking these ads too far; however, I think it’s ridiculous to draw so much attention to this issue.”

Presidential ads have always been slanderous as well. Theunissen wrote about her opinions on them. “I think presidential elections have always been messy with the term “mud-slinging” coming from Andrew Jackson’s campaign against John Quincy Adams,” Theunissen wrote. “I would say a prime difference is a new low in childish name-calling in ads today that have no factual basis, but I think political ads have always been harsh.”

17 During the Election Year

Logan Kaelin is the Voter Registration Club secretary, but he is different from the rest of the officers. He is 17 years old.

Kaelin wrote about not being able to vote during this critical election year. “I’m gonna be honest. It’s painful. I care so much about politics and how it affects our everyday lives,” Kaelin wrote over a document. “But that is why I took part in this club and have taken other steps to ensure people vote so that I can make as much an impact as possible even though I can’t vote.”

Kaelin had a different view of Tillis running ads about Cunningham’s affair. “I do think that it’s too far to attack something going on in another candidate’s family’s personal life,” Kaelin wrote. “It is especially unfair considering Cal Cunningham has a wife and young children who are affected, and while I disagree with his actions and think it is unacceptable, it is not Thom Tillis’ place to run ads and attack him constantly for it.”

When asked if he sees a difference between these Presidential ads than ads of the past, Kaelin said he does. “I see somewhat of a difference in the ads this year as they have often shifted away from policy or qualifications and used fear tactics, specifically by President Trump, and personal attacks in order to try to win this race,” Kaelin wrote. 

”I mean we’ve seen the fact that Trump does not even have a real platform that he is running on and Joe Biden has mostly been pushing the narrative that he is the morally superior candidate who will ‘restore the soul of the nation,’” Kaelin continued. “So we are seeing a lot less policy-based ads and ads of real substance this year and mostly fear-mongering and personal attacks.”

Kaelin hopes political ads will not be like this or get worse in the future. “I hope that we can return to some form of civility when it comes to our politics and go back to a time when our candidates disagreed on issues and policy solutions as opposed to the kind of hateful, personal politics we see today,” Kaelin wrote. “I also think it will depend on the outcome of this election and where each political party goes after this year.”

A Club Member

Rachel Washko is another member of the Voter Registration Club, who is 17. 

Although Washko can not vote this year, she wrote the reason why she joined the club. “I decided to sign up for the club because Leesville doesn’t have a club solely for the purpose of educating youth on today’s problems in the state government and federal,” Washko wrote over a document. “I thought this was a good opportunity for me to get informed.”

Washko shared her opinions on the Cunningham affair ads run by Senator Tillis. “Yes, I think running ads about a personal matter for any candidate is taking it too far,” Washko wrote. “An affair has nothing to do with being the U.S. Senate [granted] it doesn’t look good but nobody should have their dirty laundry aired out over the nation.”

Washko also notes that there is a difference between these cycles Presidential ads than previous ones. “Yes, I do see differences between ads for today’s elections and ads from previous elections,” Washko wrote. “The ads are far more aggressive this year than they have been in the past.”

Although, when asked about her predictions about future ads, she cannot tell. “Honestly, there is no way to tell how ads will be in the future compared to how they are currently,” Washko wrote. “These ads will depend on whoever’s running for what positions but I guess only time will tell.”

A non-partisan organization, like the Voter Registration Club, sharing accurate information about candidates is precisely what new voters need in these times.


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