Harrisburg, PA - Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres on Wednesday awarded Conestoga High School students the inaugural Governor’s Civic Engagement Award for their efforts to encourage voting and civic participation.
“Voting is one of our most sacred rights as citizens,” Secretary Torres said. “The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award encourages our youngest eligible voters to begin exercising that right very early in their adult lives.”
The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award is a cooperative effort by the Departments of Education and State, in collaboration with Inspire U.S., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to transform young leaders’ inspiration into action. The program offers resources and guidance for student leaders as they educate their peers regarding the electoral process and the importance of civic engagement.
Eligibility for the award is measured by the percentage of voter registrations among a school’s eligible student population. Students may register to vote if they are 18 years of age or will turn 18 on or before the date of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
Schools that attain 85 percent voter registration among their eligible student population will qualify for the Gold Level award, while those that register 65 percent will be honored with the Silver Level award.
Three schools in the commonwealth, including Conestoga High School, have already qualified for the Gold Level award. The other schools will be recognized in the coming weeks.
“We are extremely proud of our student volunteers who set this goal for registering their peers to vote in this past election and we are equally as honored to be the first high school to receive the Governor’s Award,” said Misty Whelan, the ninth-grade principal at Conestoga High. “Our students do so many amazing things and this is a great example of how Conestoga students make a difference in their community every day.
High schools can sign up directly with Inspire U.S., which will support student leaders as they coordinate peer-to-peer voter registration drives and efforts to get out the vote. Inspire U.S. also assists with materials and data management, and in organizing school celebrations and recognition events.
More information about the award is available on the Department of State website.
Monday, April 16, 2018, is the deadline to register for the May 15 primary election. Applications for new registration, change of address or change in party affiliation must be submitted online before midnight on that day. Traditional paper registration applications must be postmarked no later than April 16.
For more information on voter registration, please call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621