East AL high school seniors denied at polls after registering to vote through school initiative

East AL high school seniors denied at polls after registering to vote through school initiative

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Jennie Cowling said in September 2018, her son Jerimiah—a Russell County High School senior—came home from school explaining a program called HeadCount.

The program had teamed up with the school’s guidance counselor’s office to register around 20 eligible seniors to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. Cowling’s son said he decided to sign up and fill out his voter registration forms through the program.

“The school seemed to have everything in line," said Cowling.

But there was a surprise when they showed up to vote on Nov. 6.

“They said his name was not on that list and they said that he was not registered to vote," said Cowling.

“I was so mad.”

A similar story for Russell County High School parents Michelle and Carl Hubbard, along with Timothy Dean—their kids—all seniors—signed up for registration through the Head Count program at RCHS in September. Their teens, showed up to vote Nov. 6 and were all denied.

Voting officials claim the students weren’t registered to vote.

“To make matters worse, as parents were getting the run around on trying to find out what went wrong and who dropped the ball on this," said Dean.

The Russell County Registrar’s Office told us, they never received the student voter registrations packets from RCHS in the mail. News leader 9 tried several times to get a response on the situation from the school’s guidance counselor’s office. So far, there has been no response.

“This just [sic] ain’t a piece of mail. You’ve got kids’ lives in this envelope," said Carl Hubbard.

The parents said they’re now concerned about where their kid’s personal information and documents are and if they never made it to the final destination at the registrar’s office.

“They’ve got it all, driver’s license, social security number,' said Cowling.

“If this is happening in our small town, then could it be happening all over this place? What’s the magnitude of this?" said Dean.

The Russell County Registrar’s office said since the deadline to register to vote was October 22 of this year, if the registrars office were to receive those students' voter registrations today, postmarked before the deadline, and if the students voted by a provisional ballot, those students’ votes would then be counted as valid and included in Tuesday’s certification. News Leader 9 also reached out to the HeadCount voter registration project for a statement on the situation, they said they’re aware of the situation and “.because HeadCount never handled any of those students' voter registration forms (we never sent any nor received any) there [sic] wasn’t much we could do to help.”

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