Every Graduate a Voter
Before high school graduation, every student should understand the basic principles of how government works and how to participate fully in our democracy.
This is a pretty simple goal, but we’re far from achieving it. Here at The Civics Center, we are working to change that.
1. High school civic engagement
We are working to promote voter registration, preregistration, and civic engagement in high schools.
We are doing this through direct outreach to high schools starting in the western U.S. and by creating and promoting resources that high schools can use to update their civics instruction and to encourage voter registration and civic engagement.
We are also providing resources for high school students to help them organize their own civic engagement efforts. When students form clubs and take ownership of their own participation and encourage their friends to do to the same, the results are remarkable.
Many states (especially in the western U.S.) offer preregistration starting either at age 16 or 17. These laws, however, are still not well known, and many high schools do not have a formal program in place to help their students take advantage of these laws.
Even in states without preregistration, young people can often register before they turn 18, as long as they will turn 18 by the next general election.
We are working to spread awareness of preregistration laws and to help students take advantage of preregistration opportunities.
We are pushing for laws in every state that allow preregistration beginning at age 16.
3. Volunteer Organizing
Volunteers are key to our work. Volunteers help us to spread the word about our work and to reach more schools in more states. Student volunteers gain leadership skills by organizing their own voter registration drives and clubs. Volunteers will be leaders in the campaigns to push for laws allowing preregistration in every state beginning at age 16.
We are in regular contact with thousands of high schools to provide resources and encouragement. We hear regularly from our contacts about new work they are doing to promote civic engagement and voter registration in their schools.
Hundreds of high schools have identified a person responsible for voter registration efforts in response to our requests.
Thousands of young people have registered or preregistered to vote because of our trainings and resources.
We have created digital “buttons” that schools are using to promote access to their state’s voter registration websites.
We have improved access to preregistration through outreach to other government agencies, including courts, state Secretaries of State, and county Registrars.