PROVIDENCE, R.I. –Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is urging Coventry High School students to register to vote during a drive at school this Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school cafeteria.
“People who register to vote are more likely to become engaged and effective citizens of Rhode Island. Some of these individuals will become our next generation of leaders. Now is the time to reach out to them,” said Mollis.
In order to vote, students must be U.S. citizens, residents of Rhode Island and at least 18 years old by Election Day 2012. The stop is a partnership with the state Board of Elections, school administrators and the Coventry Board of Canvassers.
"I am grateful to our partners for their commitment to this important initiative. Our success will pay dividends for decades to come as these new voters cast ballots election after election,” said Mollis.
The visit is part of his “Voters in the Classroom” initiative, which targets high school and college students. Mollis plans to stage voter registration drives at every Rhode Island high school and college leading up to the 2012 elections.
His emphasis on young people reflects the success of voter registration activities over the past few years. More than 700,000 Rhode Islanders were eligible to vote in last November elections.
“Nearly 9 out of 10 eligible Rhode Islanders are already registered. The growth in our state will come from reaching out to newly eligible groups like high school students,” 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.
Students who miss the Secretary of State's visit are still in luck. They can find voter registration forms and answers to frequently asked questions at sos.ri.gov.
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 about high school voter registration, visit sos.ri.gov.
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