PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Roger Williams University students will get a practical lesson in political science when the Secretary of State’s office stages a voter registration drive on their campus next week .
“Students who register are more likely to become active and informed citizens of this state. Some of these young people will be our leaders of tomorrow. Now is the time to engage them,” said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
The drive will be at RMU's Law School Bistro, Mon., Sept. 12, from noon to 3 p.m. The Secretary of State's office and the state Board of Elections will visit the campus at the invitation of the Roger Williams University Democratic Law Students Association.
“I am grateful to our partners for their commitment to this important initiative. Our success will pay dividends for decades to come as these young people exercise their right to vote election after election,” Mollis said.
The voter registration drive is part of a push to get younger voters to the polls. The Secretary of State's office plans to visit every Rhode Island high school and college leading up to the 2012 elections.
Mollis says his emphasis on young people reflects the reality of record-breaking elections in 2008 that saw Rhode Island set new marks for voter turnout.
“About 700,000 people are already registered. The growth in our state will come from reaching out to newly eligible groups like college 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.
Anyone who misses 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.
In order to register and vote in the 2012 elections, you must be 18 by Election Day, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen.
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.
“My goal is to make it easier for people to vote. The more invested people are in their government, the better it will serve them,” said Mollis.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, helping business grow and making government more open and accessible. For more information about registering to vote, visit sos.ri.gov.