PROVIDENCE, R.I. –Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is urging East Greenwich High School students to register to vote during a drive at school Mon., May 14, beginning around 11:15 a.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.
Elaine Vespia of the East Greenwich Board of Canvassers coordinated the drive in partnership with the state Board of Elections and school administrators.
"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.
In order to register and vote on Election Day, you must be at least 18 years old by Nov. 6, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen. Students who will not be 18 by Election Day can pre-register to vote.
The outreach is part of his "Voters in the Classroom" initiative, which targets high school and college students. Mollis plans to stage voter registration drives at Rhode Island high schools and colleges leading up to the 2012 elections.
"An informed electorate is the keystone of democracy. This outreach is producing a new generation of voters and citizens committed to making their voices heard," Mollis said.
His emphasis on young people reflects the success of voter registration activities over the past few years. More than 700,000 Rhode Islanders are registered to vote.
"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 48.2 percent of eligible 18-to-24-year-old Rhode Islanders were registered to vote on Election Day 2010. Just 39.2 percent actually voted in that election.
Students who miss the voter registration drive are still in luck. Mollis posts voter registration forms and answers to frequently asked questions on his website.
The Secretary of State's office prepares maintains the state's voter registration database, encourage voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293