PROVIDENCE — Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is urging students and staff at East Providence High School to register to vote when his office visits the Townies Tues., April 30, from 10 to 11 a.m.
“Young people who register to vote are more likely to become engaged and effective citizens of Rhode Island. Some of these individuals will become our next generation of leaders. Now is the time to reach out to them,” said Mollis.
Leslie Shattuck-Moore of the East Providence Board of Canvassers coordinated the drive in partnership with Mollis, the state Board of Elections and school administrators.
“I am grateful to our partners for their commitment to this important initiative. Our success will pay dividends for decades to come as these new voters cast ballots election after election,” said Mollis.
In order to register, you must be 18 years old by Nov. 4, 2014, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen. Students who are at least 16 years old, but will not turn 18 by Election Day 2014, can pre-register to vote.
The outreach is part of Mollis’ “Voters in the Classroom” initiative, which targets high school and college students. He plans to stage voter registration drives at Rhode Island high schools and colleges leading up to the 2014 elections.
“An informed electorate is the keystone of democracy. This outreach is producing a new generation of voters and citizens committed to making their voices heard,” said Mollis.
Students and staff can also re-register to vote. State law requires current voters who have changed their name or moved since the last time they voted to update their registration in order to be eligible to vote again. His emphasis on young people reflects the success of voter registration activities over the past few years. More than 700,000 Rhode Islanders were eligible to vote in last November’s election.
“The growth in our state will come from reaching out to newly eligible groups like high school students,” said Mollis.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 48.2 percent of eligible 18-to-24-year-old Rhode Islanders were registered to vote on Election Day 2010. Just 39.2 percent of eligible 18-to-24-year-old Rhode Islanders actually voted in that election.
Students who miss the voter registration drive are still in luck. Mollis posts voter registration forms and answers to frequently asked questions on his website at sos.ri.gov.
The Secretary of State’s office maintains the state’s voter registration database, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.