News

Around Town: Student's argument for universal vote-by-mail recognized by The New York Times

Also, members of Paly robotics team teach peers the art of entrepreneurship

A stack of "I Voted" stickers at CrossRoads Community Church in Palo Alto on June 5, 2018. Photo by Adam Pardee.

In the latest Around Town column, news about a Paly student whose editorial on universal vote-by-mail was recently published by The New York Times, a local nonprofit debuting a new name and a student group's lessons on entrepreneurship.

POWER OF THE POLL ... The coronavirus pandemic is expected to significantly shakeup a highly anticipated event less than four months away: Election Day. As the clock ticks, government leaders are figuring out how to safely operate a general election in the midst of a health crisis. For Palo Alto High School student Tara Kapoor, the answer lies in universal vote-by-mail. She laid out her arguments in "Freedom Isn't Free: The Price to Preserve Democracy," her entry in The New York Times' seventh annual Student Editorial Contest. "This is, indeed, a realistic goal — five states have successfully and repeatedly set an example with almost all ballots cast by mail for years," the 15-year-old student argued. "It's high time we guaranteed the option for all Americans." She was recognized as a runner-up on June 17, when the publication released its list of winners. Kapoor contrasted the mishaps observed during Wisconsin's primary with the success during Alaska's primary, which canceled in-person voting and sent out ballots to eligible voters. The turnout doubled compared to the state's 2016 primary. (Both primaries were held in April.) Kapoor acknowledged an estimated $2 billion would be spent to make universal vote-by-mail a reality, but cited a March 21 opinion in the Times that stated the amount is "a drop in the $1-trilllion-plus stimulus bucket ... and it should be an essential part of any coronavirus response package." The contest, which limited each piece to 450 words, received a total of 7,318 entries reviewed by 30 judges. Read Kapoor's full editorial at nyti.ms/2N8r8vW.

COMING TOGETHER ... Gatepath and Abilities United, two Peninsula nonprofits that merged nearly a year ago to continue their mission of serving people with disabilities, debuted a new name on June 20. The organization will now be known as AbilityPath, which "conveys a path to an inclusive world where people of all abilities are fully accepted," according to a press release. The new name was announced during a virtual event on YouTube on the day when the organization was formed 100 years earlier. The organization also has debuted a new tagline, "Inspiring Inclusion," which it paired with the new name to "express our mission and the focus of all of our services," CEO Bryan Neider said during the livestream. Viewers of the virtual event were receptive to the rebranding, with some commenting it as "wonderful," "great" and "beautiful." During a Q&A period at the event, Neider noted that the new name and tagline were a result of two years of research. A video of the announcement can be found on YouTube.

AbilityPath announced its new name and tagline at a virtual event on June 20. Video by AbilityPath.

SPREADING KNOWLEDGE ... From imagining their dream companies to breaking down how to make a cold call, Palo Alto youth recently learned about the ABCs of entrepreneurship through the Paly Robotics Team. The club's business team gave 10 free lessons that wrapped up late last week for students from elementary to high school. "When the quarantine started, I knew I wanted to do something to help my community ... during this time of need, so I established Zoom workshops at Paly Robotics," Paly freshman Caroline Zhang, one of the team's members, told the Weekly in an email. "As a student, I oftentimes felt bored during the quarantine and wanted to learn something new." She added that the workshops allowed parents to relax while their children listened to the lessons. The first workshop challenged students to guess the company behind a series of mission statements that included Google, Nike and Hydro Flask. More advanced material was found in the fifth workshop, where the robotics club's business team covered the do's and don'ts of giving a pitch. In a workshop survey, 95.2% of participants reported they learned something new and would recommend the series to a peer. The club's business team also plans to roll out a curriculum on art and software next month. To view the entrepreneurship videos, visit the group's YouTube channel.

The Paly Robotics Team's business team discuss mission statements during the first day of its entrepreneurship workshop. Video by Paly Robotics.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Around Town: Student's argument for universal vote-by-mail recognized by The New York Times

Also, members of Paly robotics team teach peers the art of entrepreneurship

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Jun 27, 2020, 7:44 am

In the latest Around Town column, news about a Paly student whose editorial on universal vote-by-mail was recently published by The New York Times, a local nonprofit debuting a new name and a student group's lessons on entrepreneurship.

POWER OF THE POLL ... The coronavirus pandemic is expected to significantly shakeup a highly anticipated event less than four months away: Election Day. As the clock ticks, government leaders are figuring out how to safely operate a general election in the midst of a health crisis. For Palo Alto High School student Tara Kapoor, the answer lies in universal vote-by-mail. She laid out her arguments in "Freedom Isn't Free: The Price to Preserve Democracy," her entry in The New York Times' seventh annual Student Editorial Contest. "This is, indeed, a realistic goal — five states have successfully and repeatedly set an example with almost all ballots cast by mail for years," the 15-year-old student argued. "It's high time we guaranteed the option for all Americans." She was recognized as a runner-up on June 17, when the publication released its list of winners. Kapoor contrasted the mishaps observed during Wisconsin's primary with the success during Alaska's primary, which canceled in-person voting and sent out ballots to eligible voters. The turnout doubled compared to the state's 2016 primary. (Both primaries were held in April.) Kapoor acknowledged an estimated $2 billion would be spent to make universal vote-by-mail a reality, but cited a March 21 opinion in the Times that stated the amount is "a drop in the $1-trilllion-plus stimulus bucket ... and it should be an essential part of any coronavirus response package." The contest, which limited each piece to 450 words, received a total of 7,318 entries reviewed by 30 judges. Read Kapoor's full editorial at nyti.ms/2N8r8vW.

COMING TOGETHER ... Gatepath and Abilities United, two Peninsula nonprofits that merged nearly a year ago to continue their mission of serving people with disabilities, debuted a new name on June 20. The organization will now be known as AbilityPath, which "conveys a path to an inclusive world where people of all abilities are fully accepted," according to a press release. The new name was announced during a virtual event on YouTube on the day when the organization was formed 100 years earlier. The organization also has debuted a new tagline, "Inspiring Inclusion," which it paired with the new name to "express our mission and the focus of all of our services," CEO Bryan Neider said during the livestream. Viewers of the virtual event were receptive to the rebranding, with some commenting it as "wonderful," "great" and "beautiful." During a Q&A period at the event, Neider noted that the new name and tagline were a result of two years of research. A video of the announcement can be found on YouTube.

SPREADING KNOWLEDGE ... From imagining their dream companies to breaking down how to make a cold call, Palo Alto youth recently learned about the ABCs of entrepreneurship through the Paly Robotics Team. The club's business team gave 10 free lessons that wrapped up late last week for students from elementary to high school. "When the quarantine started, I knew I wanted to do something to help my community ... during this time of need, so I established Zoom workshops at Paly Robotics," Paly freshman Caroline Zhang, one of the team's members, told the Weekly in an email. "As a student, I oftentimes felt bored during the quarantine and wanted to learn something new." She added that the workshops allowed parents to relax while their children listened to the lessons. The first workshop challenged students to guess the company behind a series of mission statements that included Google, Nike and Hydro Flask. More advanced material was found in the fifth workshop, where the robotics club's business team covered the do's and don'ts of giving a pitch. In a workshop survey, 95.2% of participants reported they learned something new and would recommend the series to a peer. The club's business team also plans to roll out a curriculum on art and software next month. To view the entrepreneurship videos, visit the group's YouTube channel.

Comments

Don & Melania vote by mail
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:46 am
Name hidden, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:46 am

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


resident
Midtown
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:58 am
resident, Midtown
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:58 am
17 people like this

Banning mail voting is another form of voter suppression. Working people and college students and senior citizens have a hard time voting in person because they can't take time off work or school or transportation to the polling place is difficult. Some states are even closing polling places in districts that tend to vote for certain political parties. Voting by mail makes voting much more fair, which is a fundamental principle of democracy. If the mail system is safe enough for tax refunds and stimulus checks, then surely it is safe enough for voting.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm
3 people like this

People should be given a choice. One big problem just noted in the papers is that many dead people have received checks in the mail and the IRS has no way to get the money back. Our systems are so out of date. And our Santa Clara County Primary voting we had - never saw the final results. They just kept drawing out the count to see if the "right" people got enough votes. Never saw the final results. And some person in Santa Clara County voting "misplaced" 3,000 votes which were later found. Sorry - do not trust the system. Too many agendas out there.


Absentee Voter
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2020 at 2:23 pm
Absentee Voter, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2020 at 2:23 pm
2 people like this

Every vote should have a choice. Vote by mail, vote in a vote center before election day, or vote by mail on election day. If you received a ballot in the mail and you wish to vote in person, surrender it and you can vote. Otherwise, you can vote a provisional ballot, and it will be counted if you did not vote by mail.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Not sure?