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She's Running!

She's Running!

Sophomore A. Khera ’26 has always been interested in having her voice be heard. Passionate about a range of issues including social justice, human rights and youth civic engagement, she is particularly focused on the problem of low voter turnout among young voters, and extending voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds. The path for that work starts at the municipal level, and Khera is currently running to win election to Wellesley’s Town Meeting, the legislative body for the Town of Wellesley. 

The election is March 5, and Khera has been spending a lot of time canvassing door-to-door in her precinct. It is a family effort—her mother is her campaign manager, her dad is her social media manager, and her older sister built her a website. There are 240 voting town meeting members who are elected by precincts in the Annual Town Election. There is no age restriction for town meeting members, and Khera would not be the first high school student to win a seat. Each precinct has 30 members elected to three year terms; Khera is running in precinct F, which includes the Dana Hall campus, where she has received great support from friends and teachers. 

“I hope I get elected, but I’ll run next year if I don’t,” Khera noted. “I have time! I’ve already learned a lot in this process.”

Khera sits on the youth advisory board of Vote16, a national effort to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds at the local and state levels. She launched a 12-episode podcast to promote Vote16, and submitted a citizen’s petition to the town of Wellesley to lower the voting age. “I had to collect signatures, and I’ve really been getting this amazing civics education,” said Khera. “I really want to build a coalition around this issue. Realistically, it’s unlikely that this initiative will pass on the first try. It’s a difficult process: it has to be approved in Wellesley, then it has to go to the state legislature. I want it to keep going, even after I go to college.” 

Khera has plenty to keep her busy when she’s not on the campaign trail. She is part of a 12-person learning community at CIRCLE, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, at Tufts University's Tisch College. She is an intern at TurnUp, an organization that promotes youth civic engagement, and a volunteer for EasterSeals and World of Wellesley. She is a youth member of the League of Women Voters, and she recently got involved with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. She leads Dana Hall’s chapter of Amnesty International and is a member of Girl Up and Model UN.

“At the end of freshman year, I didn't think I’d be involved in all of this, so I don’t really know what the future holds,” Khera said. “The statistics for voter turnout are shockingly low, particularly for 18- to 24-year-olds in local elections. My ultimate goal is to increase voter turnout and civic engagement for young people.”