Fairfax County’s 30 high schools are eligible to compete in a challenge to register high school seniors to vote—a challenge organized by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, Inspire VA, and the Fairfax County Council of PTAs.
By creating a competition among participating high schools, the challenge could build enthusiasm among students to participate in our democracy.
High schools joining in the challenge are encouraged to use a hyperlink, specific to their school, to register voters. That link takes one directly to the voter registration page of the Virginia Department of Elections, where any citizen can apply to register to vote.*
The target date for registering voters is May 21, 2018, which would permit registered seniors to vote in Virginia’s June 2018 primary. Notably, “17-year-olds who will turn 18 on or before the next general election (November 6, 2018) can register now,” according to organizers.
Under the challenge, “FCPS Schools will register the seniors,” and organizers “are creating a survey that schools can use to sign up and send us updates on their numbers.” (FCPS stands for Fairfax County Public Schools.)
The challenge will award trophies to the three schools that register the highest percentage of their high school seniors, and each participating school will receive a prize.**
Commentary: Smaller school districts in Virginia, which have too few high schools to launch a robust challenge, could create a challenge among schools in their high school sports league.
To challenge students nationwide to register themselves and other students, the author has proposed a voter registration game, which could be converted to an app.
Note to readers: if you know of any other initiatives to encourage voter registration, in Virginia or elsewhere, please add a comment below—indeed, the idea for this story came from a comment on an earlier story.
*It appears that a high school senior who registered directly from the challenge’s web page, by clicking on their high-school specific link to Virginia’s voter registration page, but without working with a school official, would not earn “credit” for their school in this challenge.
**The alternative—rewarding the schools with the highest percentage of seniors who are registered to vote, regardless of how they registered—would require a cumbersome comparison of each high school’s student database versus the state voter registration database.