PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announces that nearly 90 students registered to vote during a registration drive at Westerly High School today as part of an initiative designed to get more young people to the polls in 2012.
“Students who register to vote are more likely to become active citizens. Some of these young people will be tomorrow's leaders. Now is the time to engage them,” said Mollis.
Eighty-eight students registered during the drive in the school's cafeteria. Student volunteers delivered voter registration papers to every table during all four lunch periods and collected them afterwards.
The stop at Westerly High School was a partnership with the state Board of Elections, school administrators and Westerly Board of Canvassers. Westerly Deputy Town Clerk Cathy Brayman and Steve Quirk from the state Board of Elections joined the Secretary of State's office at the event.
“I am grateful to our partners for their commitment to this important initiative. Our success will pay dividends for decades to come as these youngsters exercise their right to vote election after election,” Mollis said.
The Secretary of State's office plans to visit every Rhode Island high school leading up to the 2012 elections. In order to vote, students must be U.S. citizens, residents of Rhode Island and at least 18 years old by Election Day 2012.
“An informed electorate is the keystone of democracy. I hope our visit produced a new generation of voters and citizens committed to making their voices heard,” said Mollis.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 59 percent of eligible 18-to-24-year-olds were registered to vote on Election Day 2008. Just 49 percent actually voted in that election.
The Secretary of State’s office prepares the ballots for all federal, state and municipal elections held in Rhode Island. In addition, the office maintains the state’s central voter registration system and distributes handbooks that explain how to run for office, how to register to vote and how to vote.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, helping businesses grow and making government more open and accessible. For more information on registering to vote, running for office and voting, visit sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.