Virginia encourages teens to register to vote

Virginia Mercury

For the third year, Virginia has launched its High School Voter Registration Challenge in an effort to ramp up the number of student voters in the state.

The challenge was launched under former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration. High schools who get 65 percent of their eligible seniors to register to vote will earn the award, according to a news release from current Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration.

“We want as many qualified and eligible voters to cast their ballot here in the Commonwealth — voting is what makes our democracy strong,” Northam said in a statement. “It’s crucial that we encourage young Virginians to make a habit of making their voices heard on Election Day.”

The challenge launched Tuesday and will continue throughout the 2018-19 school year, ending May 20.

But the state isn’t the only one pushing for young voters to register. Several organizations, particularly those that lean left, have also launched initiatives to get young people to register to vote.

Data shows that there has already been an uptick in young people registering to vote. There was a 16 percent increase in registration among Virginians under 25 between January and February of this year.

Students eligible to vote are either 18 or 17, but will turn 18 before the next general election on Nov. 6. The deadline to register to vote before the upcoming election is Oct. 15.