Although Taylor Edwards won't be old enough to vote in the upcoming midterm elections Nov. 6, she decided to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award by encouraging teen voter registration.

By RIMSIE MCCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com


Although Taylor Edwards won’t be old enough to vote in the upcoming midterm elections Nov. 6, she decided to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award by encouraging teen voter registration.
She is well aware that lack of voter turnout is an ongoing problem in the local community, state and U.S.
Her first opportunity to vote will be in local elections in 2019 and she is looking forward to casting her votes in the 2020 General Election.


Scouting has given her a greater appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of Americans. “Being active in my community under the auspices of strong women has given me a greater appreciation of the civic responsibilities handed down to us by the suffragettes,” says Taylor.
She also takes her responsibility as a Girl Scout Ambassador for Lansing Girl Scout Troop 506 very seriously.


“Being the eldest in the troop, I feel a duty to set an example for younger Scouts and continue the traditions of excellence.”
When Gov. Jeff Colyer declared October as Voter Registration in Our Schools Month, Taylor was invited to Topeka to meet with Gov. Colyer and Rep. Debbie Deere, a Kansas House Representative, a Lansing USD469 School Board member, and long-time supporter of Troop 506. Taylor was honored for the active measures she is taking to encourage her fellow teens to not only register to vote, but to keep up with the issues facing Kansans in order to be an informed voter.  


“I felt a great sense of accomplishment and reassurance that my goals have actually left some lasting impact on those around me and those to come,” says Taylor. “I actively encourage my peers to vote as often as I possibly can, particularly just person to person and through various social media platforms.”
She believes that being informed to the best of one’s ability on the issues is a crucial part of every voter’s civic duty. “It’s important to be educated on the issues so you can vote for the candidate who best represents your ideals, not just the one branded by your party.”


For teens and young people, Taylor thinks that education is one of the most important considerations they should explore before casting a ballot. “Funding for education is important, especially issues that deal with the post secondary-level. We’re all heading off to college, which can get pretty expensive. I think a firm emphasis on education is the most beneficial plan of action for today’s young-adults. The school system in place is one of the most efficient ways to set our citizens up for success, and bettering the system is an undeniably fruitful venture.”


For those who say they don’t vote because their vote won’t matter, Taylor counters by pointing out that one or two votes could change an entire election. “Florida’s presidential election in 2000 was decided by less than a few thousand votes, meaning every vote mattered that much more,” says Taylor.
While she would consider someday running for a small local office she doesn’t foresee herself running for a state or national seat. “It seems like a very stressful and time- consuming job,” says Taylor.
She has been involved in scouting since kindergarten with a small hiatus in middle school and her freshman year. Scouting has taught her to be community-minded and she also values the family-like atmosphere within her troop.  


“We have done so many fun things together and everyone is so supportive of everything each girl does,” says Taylor.