RICHMOND—With just a few more days until Virginia’s October 13 voter registration deadline, Governor Ralph Northam today urged all Virginians to check their registration status and make sure they are registered to vote in the upcoming November 3 general election.
Governor Northam is also reminding Virginia students about the fifth annual Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge, which kicked off on National Voter Registration Day, September 22, and will conclude the last week of April 2021, marking the end of Virginia’s annual High School Student Voter Registration Week.
“Our democracy is only as strong as the diverse voices that help shape it at the ballot box,” said Governor Northam. “This year, voting in Virginia is easier than ever before. As we deal with the disruptions that this pandemic has brought to our daily lives, we are making sure that registering and voting is safe, easy, and accessible, especially for first-time voters. I encourage all Virginians to register or confirm their registration status before the deadline on Tuesday, October 13—this is about having an active and informed citizenry and facilitating lifelong engagement in our election process.”
The Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge invites high schools across the Commonwealth to register the highest percentage of their voting-age population, and those that reach or exceed 65 percent registration of their eligible senior class will receive a congratulatory certificate from the Governor. Created in 2016, the annual competition is a partnership of the Office of the Governor and the Secretaries of Administration and Education, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.
The 2020–2021 Governor’s Challenge is designed to help high schools comply with a new law passed this year that requires all public high schools in Virginia to facilitate voter registration for qualified students during the normal course of the school day. Virginia students born on or before November 3, 2002 can register now and vote in this year’s November 3 general election.
“Registering to vote is an important part of being a responsible citizen,” said Commissioner of the Department of Elections Chris Piper. “The Department of Elections is committed to promoting nonpartisan voter registration in our high schools and ensuring that all Virginians are aware of their voting options and the resources available to them during this year’s election and beyond.”
While in-person registration drives are more difficult and less frequent under social distancing requirements, there are still several convenient ways to register to vote or update an existing registration. A new law approved in Virginia earlier this year implements automatic voter registration for individuals accessing service at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or the DMV website.
Virginians also can register to vote by submitting paper applications by mail to their local general registrar, in person at their local general registrar’s office, or completing the online form on the Department of Elections’ website before Tuesday, October 13.
“We are committed to assisting all high schools in Virginia in registering their qualified students, even as schools face the challenges of teaching their students virtually this fall,” said Deb Wake, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Registering students now will allow them to participate, not only in our November 3 general election, but will start them on a lifetime habit of voting and exercising their power to select their representatives and voice support of issues important to them.”
Resources to help schools educate and register students are available through the Department of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Virginia, which focuses on voter registration, education, and advocacy.
Schools participating in the Governor’s Challenge can get credit for each student who registers to vote via the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal by using their school’s unique URL. For more information, contact Janet Boyd, Voter Services Director for the League of Women Voters of Virginia, at HSVRChallenge@lwv-va.org.