Empowering the Voters of Tomorrow: Developing Winning High School Voter Registration Programs

As we look ahead to the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) is pleased to share an updated popular training manual for conducting high school voter registration drives. The new and improved manual, Empowering the Voters of Tomorrow: Developing Winning High School Voter Registration Programs, lays out a roadmap for organizations, educators, and students interested in inspiring and empowering young Americans to register and vote.  

The need for voter registration programs in high schools cannot be understated. Although 2012’s youth voter turnout was on par with that of 2008, young voters still remain severely underrepresented in the American electorate. These shortcomings grow exponentially when we look at non-college youth and young people from minority and low-income communities. What’s more, research by CIRCLE (the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) shows that although young people are increasingly engaging in volunteerism, discussing important political issues, and expressing  strong desires to change their communities for the better, most have never been contacted by a civic organization or been asked to get involved in the political process. 

With that in mind, the League has worked in targeted local communities to make sure all young people have the chance to ask questions, talk about why voting is important, and get registered. We’re proud to have helped tens of thousands of high school students get registered, and we are excited to build this program for the future. 

Our updated manual, which was field-tested by dozens of League volunteer teams, shares the lessons learned from having conducted hundreds of nonpartisan high school voter registration drives nationwide since 2010, programs which reached tens of thousands of high school students. The manual provides a comprehensive plan for planning, executing, and making the most of high school voter registration events, including details ranging from facts on voter eligibility to event planning basics such as identifying the best time to hold a drive and how best to encourage young voters. The manual is also chock-full of customizable, printable tools and workplans.

What is your organization doing to engage young people? How can this training manual help? Download it, then let us know!