PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis reports that 40 students registered to vote during a drive at Middletown High School today as part of a push 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 teens will be tomorrow's leaders. Now is the time to engage them,” said Mollis.
State and local election officials distributed voter registration forms to every table in the school cafeteria during all three lunch periods and collected them afterwards.
The stop at Middletown High School was a partnership with school administrators and the Middletown Board of Canvassers. Adeline Rose, Mary Hannon and Carmella Murphy led the town's effort.
“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.
Students who missed the voter registration drive are in luck. They can find voter registration forms and answers to frequently asked questions on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov.
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 about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
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