IV. Election News This Week
A new report from the Texas Civil Rights Project finds that no private high schools and just 14 percent of the state’s public high schools are complying with a state law that requires high schools to distribute voter registration forms to students twice per year. The organization as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested the forms. In total, the organizations said, six percent of high schools in Texas requested forms. According to the Austin American-Statesman, while the schools can get the voter registration forms from sources other than the secretary of state’s office, they argued that based on the state’s low youth voter registration and turnout rates, it’s clear the schools are not doing so. “This unique law should make Texas a leader in youth voter registration and turnout,” Beth Stevens, voting rights director for the TCRP said at a press conference. “But that’s not the reality.” Secretary of State Rolando Pablos wrote in an op-ed this summer that student voter registration is one of his top priorities.
Meanwhile in California, the secretary of state’s office has launched an online Back-to-School Pre-Registration Toolkit. “Along with backpacks, new clothes, and school supplies, 16 and 17-year-olds should add pre-registration to their back to school checklists,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. The idea is that these toolkits (which include downloadable posters and brochures, a PSA video, sample social media posts and informational links) will help school’s better engage with their students on issues of voter registration and being active in their community.
Break out those colored pencils Cape Girardeau, Missouri students! The county clerk’s office is sponsoring a contest, open to all 9th through 12th grade students in the county, to come up with a new “I Voted” sticker for the county. County Supervisor of Elections Allen Seabaugh told KRCU that the idea actually came from a teacher who in 2016 got her students excited about the election by collecting “I Voted” stickers from across the country. The student who wins will have their design used on stickers given to voters who cast ballots during the 2018 and 2019 elections. “It will allow them to be involved in the election process, even for some of those students who aren’t quite 18 years of age and unable to register to vote, if they can be involved in creating the stickers we’re going to use to give voters at the polls.” Seabaugh told the station. We hear at electionline.org cannot wait to see the winning sticker and add it to our own collection of “I Voted” stickers.
Personnel News: Andrea Muray is the new Jackson, Michigan city clerk. James Hammond, chairman of the Frederick, Maryland resigned on Monday, just hours before the city primary. Joanna Cappiello Leopold was appointed to the Plaquemines Parish board of elections. Lisa Marra has been appointed director of elections and special districts in Cochise County, Arizona.