March 31, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Governor McAuliffe Proclaims Virginia High School Student Voter Registration Week: April 23-29, 2017
Governor McAuliffe issued a proclamation to officially recognize April 23-29, 2017 as Virginia High School Student Registration Week. The purpose of the week will be to encourage high school students and teachers across the Commonwealth to conduct voter registration drives at their schools. All Virginia public high schools are invited to participate in this special statewide voter registration drive. The Virginia Department of Education has partnered with the Department of Elections and other nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations working to encourage eligible youth in the Commonwealth to register to vote.
Last September, Governor McAuliffe announced the Governor’s Challenge in High School Voter Registration. The Challenge was developed to recognize schools across the Commonwealth that register the highest percentage of their voting-age population. Schools that reach or exceed 65 percent will receive special recognition from the Governor. This year’s Challenge concludes with Virginia High School Registration Week.
The Governor’s office has partnered with Inspire Virginia to provide school divisions with additional resources and technical assistance. Inspire Virginia is a program of Inspire U.S., a nonpartisan 501(c)3 that develops high school students into civic leaders through peer-to-peer voter registration, voter education, and Get Out The Vote efforts within their schools. Inspire played a key role helping develop and execute last year’s High School Voter Registration Week, during which nearly 2,500 qualified high school students registered to vote.
Inspire can support your school by providing assistance with:
- student-led, nonpartisan voter registration drives;
- supplying materials and resources for voter registration;
- updating you on the percentage of registered students within your school; and
- tracking your school’s turnout in future elections.
To register your school for the Challenge or to obtain additional information on how your schools can partner with Inspire Virginia to support student voter registration please visit: www.inspireus-va.org/gov_award. Additional school-specific resources for students and teachers are also available on the Department of Elections website as well as contact information for partnering organizations and local voter registration offices that may be able to support your schools student registration efforts.
When young people register and vote they are more likely to continue voting. By providing information and encouragement to our students, we can help shape the next generation of American voters. The Department of Education encourages all high schools to participate in this opportunity to promote civics education and civic responsibility.