~ Registration week aims to encourage more eligible high schoolers to register to vote ~
Governor McAuliffe recently issued a proclamation to officially recognize April 23-29, 2017 as Virginia High School Student Voter Registration Week. During this week, high school students, teachers and administrators across the Commonwealth will be encouraged to conduct voter registration drives at their schools.
Last September, Governor McAuliffe announced the Governor’s Challenge in High School Voter Registration for the 2016-2017 school year. Any schools that reach or exceed 65 percent of their voting-age population registered will receive a congratulatory certificate. The challenge concludes during the last week of April.
“Now more than ever, it is vitally important that we encourage our high school students to register to vote,” Governor McAuliffe said. “Making voter registration more accessible and getting more young people to the polls is essential to preserving our shared democracy and ensuring that our elections truly reflect the will of the Commonwealth’s diverse population.”
Virginia law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote, as long as they will be 18 on or before the next general election. They may also vote in any intervening primary elections.
“With this second annual High School Voter Student Registration Week, we aim to inspire even more high schoolers to register to vote,” said Secretary of Administration Nancy Rodrigues. “By reaching out to Virginia’s students now, we hope to inspire them to become involved, informed, and eager to have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
“A central facet of our work in K-12 is to make sure we are preparing all of our students to become engaged and thoughtful citizens,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The second annual High School Student Voter Registration Week is a tremendous opportunity to highlight this essential part of a well-rounded public education.”
The Secretaries of Administration and Education, the Department of Elections and the Department of Education have expanded their partnership with non-profit, non-partisan voter registration organizations like the League of Women Voters of Virginia and Inspire Virginia in order to continue this important work.
“The Profile of a Virginia Graduate includes the expectation that students will be prepared to fulfill their responsibilities as engaged and thoughtful citizens,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “Virginia High School Student Voter Registration Week is an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their readiness to accept this challenge.”
“Inspire Virginia is delighted to be partnering with Governor McAuliffe,” said Ian Baxter, Inspire Virginia’s Regional Field Coordinator. “Increasing the number of registered voters in high schools will develop and foster lifelong engaged citizens among young people in the Commonwealth.”
Resources are available on the Department of Elections’ website to aid students and teachers in planning and conducting voter registration efforts. Contact information for partnering organizations and local voter registration offices that may be able to provide support is also available on the site.
Virginians can apply to register online at the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal, located at http://elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/index.html. Registration is also available at the Department of Motor Vehicles, at local voter registration offices and at voter registration drives. The deadline to register to vote in the June 13th Primary Elections is Monday, May 22nd.