Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate kicked off his annual drive to register Iowa high school students to vote on Tuesday through the Carrie Chapman Catt Award initiative. Every school in Iowa that registers at least 90 percent of their eligible students to vote will receive the award, named after the Iowan who was a national leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Last year, 22 schools won the award.
The launch for this year’s initiative coincides with National Voter Registration Day, held annually on the fourth Tuesday in September.
“Registering to vote and participating in elections is the best way to make your voice heard,” Secretary Pate said. “We’ve registered more than 6,300 high school students through the Catt Award initiative in the last two years and that has also translated to more young people casting ballots.”
Schools that register at least 50 percent and 70 percent of eligible students also receive statewide recognition. Altogether, 34 Iowa schools reached the 50 percent threshold last year.
State law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote in Iowa. They can also participate in June primary elections if they will be 18 in time for the November general election. Partnering with Inspire2Vote, Secretary Pate will help schools across the state organize and conduct voter registration drives. Inspire2Vote is a program of Project High Hopes, a 501(c)3 operating foundation which engages in innovating programs in the areas of civic responsibility.
Schools interested in being considered for the Carrie Chapman Catt Award and receiving information and resources about how to conduct a voter registration drive should visit inspire2vote.org/iasignup. For more details about the Carrie Chapman Catt Award, visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.