Pa. Dept. of State celebrating Voter Registration Day by launching school challenge

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(Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — With Tuesday being National Voter Registration Day, the Pa. Departments of State and Education are launching the fifth annual Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) Program to promote efforts for young, eligible voters.

“The GCEA program is a creative way to encourage civic education and engagement among Pennsylvania’s high school students and cultivate the lifelong habit of voting. Our youngest voters are the future of our democracy,” Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid said. “I urge educators to enroll their schools in this nonpartisan program as soon as possible so that their students can get the voter registration toolkit early and begin planning their voter registration efforts.”

Schools that get 85% or more eligible students to register will get a Gold Level Award. A Silver Level Award will be given to schools that get 65% or more registered.

Individual awards are also available if students participate in efforts at their school and even serve as a poll workers during the Nov. 2 election. If you want to be a poll worker, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 17 years old with school principal and parent permission.

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“Providing our students with tools to become civically engaged is important as they prepare to vote and actively participate in our democracy,” Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega said. “This will help create positive outcomes for our communities, and I commend our high school students and supporting educators for encouraging civic engagement across the commonwealth.”

The deadline to apply for the 2021-2022 school year for these awards is May 5, 2022. Events will also be held for winning schools and students.

The Dept. of State also launched their Pa. Campus Voting Challenge with higher education campuses to increase participation and engagement.

October 18 is the deadline to register to vote or update information for the Nov. 2 election. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is 5 p.m. on Oct. 26, but the Dept. of State says to apply and submit their ballot as soon as they receive it.

Polls will open Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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