HARRISBURG, PA — Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is reminding Pennsylvania high school students they still have time to participate in the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) program by registering their eligible peers to vote in the April 28 primary.
“This is an ideal time for high school students to organize voter registration drives as interest in the 2020 presidential election ramps up,” Secretary Boockvar said. “They can also help educate voters about new election reforms that will make voting in the commonwealth easier and more convenient. For instance, the spring primary will be the first time Pennsylvanians can vote via mail-in ballot and register to vote up to 15 days before the election.”
Already, a record number of schools have registered to participate in the third year of the GCEA program, 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.
“Registering to vote is a fundamental step for students to take so they can have their voices heard and participate in the democratic process,” said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “We encourage all eligible students to register through this initiative so their votes can be counted, and we thank the students who are helping their peers learn about their civic responsibilities.”
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.
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.
In addition, more secure and accessible voting systems that produce a paper record that voters can verify before casting their ballot will be in use in all 67 counties.
For more information about voting in Pennsylvania, visit www.votespa.com.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education
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