HARRISBURG, PA — Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is reminding Pennsylvania high school students that there is still time to participate in the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) program.
“2020 is proving to be a momentous year for eligible Pennsylvania high school students to participate in our democracy, and to encourage their peers to be engaged as well,” Secretary Boockvar said. “Thanks to the new voting reforms that will go into effect starting with the April primary, elections in Pennsylvania will be more convenient and more accessible than ever.”
The GCEA program is a cooperative effort by the Departments of State and Education to promote student-led voter registration efforts and civic engagement among Pennsylvania’s youngest voters. The deadline to apply for an award is April 3, 2020. Visit votesPA.com/gcea to sign up and learn more.
To date, more than 136 schools have signed up to participate in this year’s GCEA program. In 2019, 23 high schools earned GCEA awards, eight students won individual awards for registering their peers to vote and also serving as poll workers for the November 2018 election, and 3,109 eligible students were registered to vote.
“Voting is the foundation of our democracy. I encourage all eligible high school students in Pennsylvania to participate in civic life by registering to vote,” said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “Registering to vote and educating yourself about elections and how they work is an incredible learning experience and will help students better understand our government and our country.”
Schools that register to vote 85 percent or more of their eligible students earn a Gold Level Award, while schools that register between 65 percent and 84 percent of their eligible students earn a Silver Level Award. Eligible students are those who are 18 years of age or will turn 18 on or before the date of the next primary, special or general election.
Outstanding students 17 years of age or older who engage in efforts to register their fellow students and also serve as poll workers are eligible for individual awards.
GCEA winners will be honored at four regional recognition events in the spring.
For the first time this year, Pennsylvania voters will benefit from major election reforms that will go into effect with the April primary. They will be able to:
- Vote by mail-in ballot without having to provide a reason.
- Return their mail-in or absentee ballot by mail or at their county election office until 8 p.m. on election day.
- Ask to be placed on a permanent mail-in voter list.
- Register to vote up to 15 days before an election.
For more information about voting in Pennsylvania, visit www.votespa.com.
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