The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan, non-profit organization promoting informed voter participation and enhanced citizen engagement, has been active for many years conducting voter registration drives and providing voter education opportunities. Their Education Action Team of Sarasota (LWVSRQ) in partnership with Sarasota County Public Schools, is sponsoring “YVOTE”, an essay, poster, and video contest for high school students to share their thoughts on the importance of voting. All students in Sarasota County’s public charter and district public high schools are eligible to enter, regardless of whether they are yet able to register to vote. Students will work independently on their entries and the contest is not part of classroom activities or assignments.
Dr. Jill Lewis-Spector, Ed. D. is the 2nd Vice President for the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Chair of LWVFL & LWVSRQ Education Action Teams. In her experience, the students who enter the contest tend to be quite serious when they talk about why voting is important. “We want to make sure that the students really understand that every vote is important, that it counts,” she shares. “A lot of the students who competed last year, talked about speaking to the relatives who are older because as high school students, they are not old enough to vote themselves. I was impressed that they had gone beyond just talking to friends and people their own age. So here we are with young people really thinking about what they will be doing as adult voters. And we surely hope that they get to the polls and exercise their right.”
The writer(s) of the winning essay, artist(s) of the winning poster, and the producer(s) of the winning video will each receive a prize of $500; second place winners in each category will receive $300 and 3rd place winners in each category will receive $200. If a single entry has been created by more than one person, the prize will be shared by the number of students who submitted that winning entry. The deadline for submissions is October 17, 2023, and winners will be announced on November 8, 2023 on social media and elsewhere. Essay submissions should be no longer than 500 words, video entries cannot exceed 3 minutes, posters can be in any one of the three standard sizes: 24x36 (large) 16x24 (medium) and 11x17 (small). The judges–who are part of the local education action team or members of the community who have special talents involving video knowledge, writing or art–are looking for creative, effective, and inspirational entries that capture issues and personal experiences. Entries should be a call to action, describing the importance of using our votes to influence the direction of our democracy. They may not include endorsements or criticisms of individual candidates or of political parties. The LWVSRQ YVOTE Contest is fully funded by Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
What You Can Do
The Latest from the League
Our Youth Voter Registration Program kicked off in nearly 40 communities nationwide. We will visit high schools, community colleges and vocational schools to help young people register to vote.
June marked the end of our 2019 High School Voter Registration project. With a record-breaking 60 Leagues participating, volunteers registered a total of 20,115 high school student in 28 states across the country, plus D.C.
As young adults, we should be at the frontlines in helping decide the path of our country if we’re going to make the future our own.