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Nearly 90% of this high school's eligible students are registered to vote

During the school day on Monday, students walked to cast their vote at a ballot box.

DENVER — A new group of teens gets to make their voices heard every year, and this year, the seniors at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood are learning how it's done.

"I'm 18, just turned 18 last week," said Paschal Obioha. 

"This is my first time voting -- which I was confused," said Richard Flor. "I was like, 'How do I do the paperwork?' But like our fellow teachers and the staff at the school helped me." 

During class, teachers taught eligible students how to register to vote, and ended up with 87% of eligible students registered. 

That was enough for the school to win the Eliza Pickrell Routt Award, presented by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office to schools with more than 85% of eligible students registered to vote. 

Teachers and staff are made sure students' ballots get counted by walking them a half mile to the nearest ballot box at the Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center. 

"I feel very adult," said Dayanira Franco, laughing. 

That feeling is new, and empowering. 

"Us voting shows that we’re we’re present here, and its nice to have an impact in our community," said Flumely Carmona. 

Their first election will decide who the mayor of Denver will be, and they hope that person listens to what they care about. 

"Affordable housing just because I feel like its gotten so expensive and its difficult to find somewhere where you can live," said Franco. 

"Inflation to homelessness," said Obioha. 

The half mile to the rec center where they cast their vote is a short field trip, but it feels like a big step. 

"I'm really out here making a difference you know," said Obioha.

As of Monday night, young voters are far outnumbered by older voters in Denver's 2023 election. Denver reports more than 36,000 people who are 65 and older have returned ballots, while only about 2,800 people who are 24 and younger have returned a ballot.

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