In an effort to increase voter turnout among younger Rhode Islanders, The League of Women Voters of South County launched a groundbreaking voter registration initiative at Chariho High School in March 2022. Despite a high overall voter registration rate of more than 90% in the three towns that make up the Chariho Regional School District, only 28% of Rhode Island’s 18 to 19-year-old residents voted in the 2020 election. This low turnout suggests that young people do not automatically become engaged and informed citizens when they turn 18.
Etta Zasloff and Kristen Chambers of the League of Women Voters South County visited 14 US History classes at Chariho High School on March 2 & 3 to provide practical information about the registration and voting process. The 15-minute presentation showed students how to navigate the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website and access information on voter registration and pre-registration. Those 16 and older are eligible to register, and most do when they apply for a driver’s license. However, many were unclear about their registration status and welcomed the chance to learn how to verify that they were on the voters’ list. Some 16 year-old students who were not yet drivers were able to register in about two minutes.
The League of Women Voters South County is dedicated to engaging young voters and encouraging life-long voting habits and civic engagement. For more information on bringing this free program to your high school, contact email@example.com.