PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis reports that more than 100 students registered to vote during a visit to East Providence High School on Wednesday 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.
The drive took place in the school's auditorium, where students crowded the Secretary of State's table. While 149 registered to vote, others had questions about how to vote and upcoming elections.
The stop at EPHS was a partnership with the state Board of Elections, school administrators and local officials. Dot O'Gara and Lesley Shattuck-Moore from the Board of Canvassers, Steve Quirk from the state Board of Elections and EPHS's Mike Silva and Bob Duarte pitched in on the drive.
“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. Students who missed Mollis’ visit are still in luck. They can find voter registration forms and answers to frequently asked questions at sos.ri.gov.
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