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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the 2019–2020 Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge. High schools across the Commonwealth will have the opportunity to compete to register the highest percentage of their voting-age population. Schools that reach or exceed 65 percent registration of their eligible senior class will receive a congratulatory certificate from the Governor. The Governor’s Challenge was created in 2016 and is a partnership of the Office of the Governor and the Virginia Secretaries of Administration and Education, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Elections, and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.
“Making voter registration easy and accessible and engaging young Virginians in the voting process will help ensure they are active and informed citizens,” said Governor Northam. “The strength of our democracy depends upon the participation of our diverse population, and encouraging young people to register and vote is a necessary part of ensuring that all voices are heard at the ballot box.”
Earlier this year, Governor Northam issued a proclamation recognizing April 21–27, 2019 as Virginia High School Student Voter Registration Week, with the goal of encouraging high school students and teachers across the Commonwealth to conduct voter registration drives at their schools. Virginia law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote, as long as they will be 18 on or before the next general election.
“The earlier you vote, the more likely you are to become a lifelong voter,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner. “The Governor’s Challenge gives us the opportunity to build on the success of High School Student Registration week and to start encouraging our next generation of voters to get involved in our democracy.”
The challenge officially kicked off earlier this week on National Voter Registration Day, September 24, 2019, and will conclude the last week of April 2020, which marks Virginia’s fourth annual High School Student Voter Registration Week. Resources to help schools conduct voter registration drives will be made available by the Virginia Department of Elections and our nonpartisan partner organization, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Virginia, which focuses on voter registration, education, and advocacy.
“Registering high school students statewide is an important part of our mission,” said Betty Cabrera, Voter Services Chair for the LWV of Virginia. “Students born on or before November 3, 2002 who register by February 10, can vote on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. On that day, they will join the 30 percent of registered voters expected to cast a vote in the presidential primaries.”
“As we aim to educate the workforce of the 21st century, we are also focused on producing engaged and informed citizens,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Central to that goal is making it easier for high school students to register to vote. The Governor’s Challenge will help get more students involved in democracy.”
Schools will get credit for each student who registers to vote using their school’s unique URL via the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal. For more information, contact Betty Cabrera at HSVRChallenge@lwv-va.org.
Voter registration is also available at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), local voter registration offices, and voter registration drives. The deadline to register to vote, or to update an existing registration for the November 5 General Election, is Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
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