Three Local Leagues Recognized for Outstanding Youth Engagement

Washington, DC - As many elections officials begin preparations for next year’s presidential election, League of Women Voters national president Elisabeth MacNamara today announced the winners of the first-ever Smackdown Your Vote! ® Democracy Award, a nationwide effort to recognize state and local Leagues for their outstanding work to engage and empower young voters. Receiving awards will be the Leagues of Pittsburgh, PA; Houston, TX; and Mobile, AL.

“With Election 2012 right around the corner, this award announcement could not come at a more critical time,” said MacNamara in a statement.  “The outstanding work of the Pittsburgh, Houston and Mobile League volunteers represents the best of what our organization is doing at all levels to ensure young people, especially those living in underrepresented communities, have the information they need to cast a vote next year.”

The awards were made possible through the League’s longstanding national partnership with WWE through Smackdown Your Vote! ®, an effort to encourage young people to vote and become active participants in their democracy. The winning Leagues will receive grants to expand their youth engagement efforts in 2012.  Find out more about the League’s youth-focused activities at www.lwv.org/highschoolregistration.

“By empowering young people to become actively involved in our democracy, we can help maintain its health and vibrancy,” said Robert Zimmerman, SVP, Corporate Communications, Media Relations & Public Affairs for WWE. “We are honored to be able to recognize the outstanding contributions of the local League volunteers.”  

The three winning Leagues have each developed innovative youth outreach programs in their communities: The Houston League conducted more than thirty high school voter registration events during 2010; the Mobile League conducted dozens of voter registration presentations at schools, transitional homes and “Welfare to Work” programs in local community colleges; the Pittsburgh League developed a mock elections program and contest to engage young people in developing their own electronic voting systems.  

“From the persisting high unemployment rate among young people, to the rising costs of education, health care, and energy, young Americans simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to elections,” MacNamara concluded.  “We’re committed to helping them get in the game.”

###
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 90 years of experience and 850 local and state affiliates, the League is one of America’s most trusted grassroots organizations.