The non-partisan voter registration organization HeadCount.org and March for Our Lives have joined forces on a nationwide push to get 90 percent of high schools to host voter registration drives by Tuesday May 29th.
As of today, representatives from 1050 different schools from 46 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico have signed up at HeadCount.org/SignUp to participate. Some have already run voter registration drives in their schools and many more will do so on Tuesday, when classes resume after Memorial Day weekend.
The voter registration drives are taking place in assemblies, classrooms, lunchrooms and graduations.
“High schools represent the future of America,” said March for Our Lives student activist David Hogg, who turned 18 this spring. “Let’s make it a future where everyone has the chance to register and vote.” He added: “People have died for your right to vote, but you can’t vote if you’re not registered.”
In 2016, only 42.8 percent of 18 year olds were registered to vote and only 34.4 percent voted in the Presidential elections. Turnout for Congressional and local elections is even lower. In 2014, less than 20 percent of all eligible voters under 30 turned out to vote in the Midterm Elections, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The effort to register high school students began shortly after the historic March for Our Lives protests organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
HeadCount, which ran the on-the-ground voter registration efforts at the March in Washington, DC and 29 other cities, released a guide to running community and high school voter registration drives and set a goal of 90 percent of American High schools hosting a voter registration drive before the end of this academic year.
“There’s an inequality in the education system when some schools have very organized voter registration efforts and others have nothing,” said HeadCount executive director Andy Bernstein. “But this is one of those rare societal problems that can be fixed pretty easily. If some schools already do a great job helping students register, there’s no reason all schools can’t do the same.”
HeadCount has been providing hands-on support to students around the country who are organizing voter registration in their schools. They’ve also provided the same support to teachers and faculty.
HeadCount’s other voter registration efforts focus largely on concerts and music festivals. The organization is working with over 60 touring musicians this summer including newly signed on partners Macklemore, Kesha, and Paramore, as well as longtime supporters Dave Matthews Band and Dead & Company.
Anyone interested in volunteering with them at concerts can sign up to do so at HeadCount.org.
For more information, please seewww.headcount.org.