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Governor’s high school voter registration challenge opens Sept. 25 in Virginia

Gov. Ralph Northam today, Sept. 25, announced the 2018–2019 Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge. The Office of the Governor and the Virginia Secretary of Administration, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Elections, Inspire U.S., and the League of Women Voters of Virginia, have reintroduced the Governor’s Voter Registration Challenge for high school students across the Commonwealth for the third time. The challenge was created in 2016 by Governor McAuliffe.

Virginia high schools that achieve at least 65 percent registration of their eligible senior class will earn the award. The award is intended to recognize and commemorate the efforts of the next generation of leaders to educate, engage and inform their fellow students about how to get involved in the voting process.

The challenge will kick off on National Voter Registration Day, which is today, Sept. 25, 2018, and will span the entirety of the 2018–2019 school year, ending on May 20, 2019.

“We want as many qualified and eligible voters to cast their ballot here in the Commonwealth—voting is what makes our democracy strong,” said Governor Northam. “It’s crucial that we encourage young Virginians to make a habit of making their voices heard on Election Day. My administration is proud to sponsor this initiative and continue this effort to recognize schools that promote civic engagement and voter participation.”

Schools can sign up to participate in the challenge here. Schools that sign up will be provided resources, training, and data tracking.

“When high school students begin voting early in their lives, they have a much greater chance of becoming a lifelong voter,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner. “The renewal of the Governor’s Challenge demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to encourage students all over the state to exercise their constitutional right and vote.”

“Virginia’s students are the future of our Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “It is imperative that they are civically engaged and committed to their communities through voting so they can participate throughout their entire lives.”

Students eligible to register to vote are either 18-years-old, or 17-years-old and will be 18 on or before the next general election, November 6, 2018. To register online and have the registration count towards the challenge, students should register using their high school’s unique URL.

The deadline to register to vote or to update an existing registration for the upcoming Nov. 6 general election is Monday, October 15, 2018.

“Expanding young Virginians’ opportunities to register to vote is an important task that we are excited to encourage,” said Commissioner of the Department of Elections Chris Piper. “We are looking forward to partnering with these organizations to promote nonpartisan voter registration across high schools statewide.”

“This initiative is an easy way to ensure that Virginia high school students are active and engaged members of our communities,” said Inspire U.S. Regional Manager Morgan O’Toole. “We hope that this initiative spurs them to become lifelong voters in a fun way.”

Inspire U.S. staff and League of Women Voters volunteers are available to provide support in classrooms.

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