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High school voter registration challenge open in Virginia

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 2:42 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Now is the time to get eligible high school students registered to vote in Virginia.

September 28 marks the start of the statewide-challenge for high schools to get at least 65% of their eligible population registered to vote.

Schools who hit that mark will be given a congratulatory certificate.

The competition is in partnership with the office of the governor, Department of Elections, and the League of Women Voters.

“Given the questions about elections and how we administer elections across the country the more we can involve our young people to get them interested and regular voters its more important now than ever,” Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections Chris Piper said.

The challenge runs through April of 2022.

Students born before November 3, 2003 can register to vote in this November’s election.

09-28-2021 Release from the Office of Governor Ralph Northam:

RICHMOND— Governor Ralph Northam today announced the start of Virginia’s sixth annual Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge.

“Our democracy depends on voting, and it should be as easy as possible,” said Governor Northam. “Our landmark 2021 Voting Rights Act of Virginia makes voting easier and more accessible. This challenge helps ensure young people have the resources they need to become active and civic-minded citizens for life.”

The Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge encourages schools to register as many of their voting-age population as possible. High schools that register at least 65 percent of their eligible senior class will receive a congratulatory certificate from the governor. The annual competition, created in 2016, is the result of a collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Secretaries of Administration and Education, the Virginia Department of Elections, and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

The Governor’s Challenge helps high schools comply with a 2020 law that requires Virginia public high schools to facilitate voter registration during the school day. Students born on or before November 2, 2003 can register to vote in this year’s November 2nd general election.

“We are always excited to be a part of this event,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson. “This contest is a great way to introduce the next generation of Virginia voters to the electoral process. We hope that it continues to encourage students to be enthusiastic about making their voices heard and contributing to our democracy.”

There are many ways to register to vote. Volunteers or local election officials will provide voter registration opportunities for students in public and private high schools. Virginians are automatically registered when they access services at a Department of Motor Vehicles office or on the DMV website. Additionally, Virginians can register to vote by submitting paper applications to their local general registrar by mail, in person, or by completing the online form on the Department of Elections’ website.

“We remain committed to assisting high schools throughout the Commonwealth in meeting their obligations to register qualified students, whether in person or virtually,” said League of Women Voters of Virginia President Deb Wake. “We believe each qualified high school student who registers to vote is given a strong start to exercising and understanding their valuable rights as a citizen of Virginia. We encourage high schools to give students an opportunity to register before the October 12 deadline for the November 2nd general election.”

Resources to help schools educate and register students are available through the Department of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Virginia. Schools participating in the Governor’s Challenge can get credit for each student who registers to vote via the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal by using their school’s unique URL that can be found on the League of Women Voters of Virginia website. For more information, contact Janet Boyd, Voter Services Director for the League of Women Voters of Virginia, at HSVRChallenge@lwv-va.org.

The Governor’s Challenge will conclude in the last week of April 2022.

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