Student at Northwest Philly high school campaigns even though he can’t vote

As Election Day approaches, Darien Carter remains one of its most eager followers – even though he’s too young to cast his own ballot.

The rising Central High School senior’s political-interest resume dates back a decade when, as a 7-year-old, he would accompany his grandmother while she put campaign posters up in the neighborhood and directed people to polling locations.

Last summer, he attended a volunteer session for the sitting President’s re-election campaign and has been actively involved ever since.

Extracurricular activities

At CHS, which is located in Logan, he is the class secretary, member of the mock-trial team and helped to organize last year’s Junior State of America, which is a civics-and-leadership training program for high schoolers.

As a campaign volunteer, he makes phone calls, provides voter ID information and recruits volunteers in North and Northwest Philly.

Canvassing efforts have taken Carter to many a West Oak Lane stoop. He has met First Lady Michelle Obama and expects to attend the Democratic National Convention next month.

While he considers it a full-time summer job, he said he intends to continue volunteering even after school begins.

Bad timing

Carter will miss the voting-age cutoff by three months, but that doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm. He seems to be on a mission to fight low voter-turnout figures.

“People who don’t care are giving up control of their freedom, future and their voice,” he said this week. “It’s disappointing because people have died for the right to vote, and they are saying that it is not important enough to them.”

Could the future hold a career in politics for the politico who has yet to vote?

“It is something I am definitely looking at,” he said, noting that he’d prefer a Senate seat to the Presidency because that would enable him “to serve the community in the greatest capacity that I can.”

The original version of this story misidentified the high school that Carter attends.

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