‘Make Their Voices Heard:’ Rhode Island Officials Use Activity On Voting To Ask Students About Abortion Stance

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Rhode Island state officials promoted a voting activity at a high school that asked students about their stance on abortion, according to a social media post.

Rhode Island Secretary of State Gregg Amore, Democratic Rhode Island Rep. Teresa Tanzi and former candidate for state rep. Gina Giramma visited Narragansett High School on Feb. 14 to teach students about the importance of voting, according to a Facebook post. In a mock voting activity, students filled out a ballot that asked them if they thought the state’s constitution should be amended to protect a woman’s right to abortion. (RELATED: ‘Orwellian’: School District Encourages Entire Town To Report Violations Of ‘Anti-Racism’ Policy)

“Students at Narragansett High School should have benefitted from a politically neutral civics lesson on how to vote, but instead, Rhode Island’s progressive elected representatives, Teresa Tanzi and Greg Amorre, took advantage of vulnerable students by asking them invasive questions about their political beliefs,” Nicole Solas, an Independent Women’s Forum’s Education Freedom Center fellow, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The five question mock ballot asked students if Election Day should be a national holiday, if the federal government should have the right to override state voting laws and if weekend and early voting should be allowed, a Facebook post showed.

“Should the Rhode Island Constitution be amended to include ensuring women’s reproductive freedom and right to abortion?” the ballot read.

The high school students, ages 14 to 18-years-old, casted their ballots using official voting machines to learn how to “make their voices heard,” Amore said in a tweet. Narragansett High School appears to be the only school district that the state officials visited.

It is unclear if parents were notified about the survey as if they weren’t, the ballot would potentially violate the Protection of Pupil Rights Act which requires that schools notify families before students are required to fill out a survey, Solas told the DCNF.

“Where did the data from this mock ballot go?” Solas told the DCNF. “How are parents and students assured that their privacy is protected? This civics lesson on voting certainly failed to model election integrity when the mock questions on the ballot and the mock poll watchers appear to have violated federal law. I hope someone learned a lesson from this.”

The Rhode Island Department of State, Tanzi, Giramma and Narragansett High School did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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