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Pate seeks statewide high school voter registration day

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is encouraging Iowa high schools to conduct voter registration drives on Tuesday, March 3.

Every school that registers at least 90 percent of its eligible students to vote receives the Carrie Chapman Catt Award, named after the Iowan who was a national leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

Nine schools across the state have already qualified for the Catt Award. The deadline for this school year is April 1.

“Schools are required by state law to conduct voter registration drives, but we want this to be a fun activity and hopefully inspire some competition between the schools,” Pate said. “We also want young people to understand that registering to vote and participating in elections are the best ways to make sure your voice is heard.”

A new state law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote in Iowa. Students can also participate in the June primary election if they will be 18 years old on or before the Nov. 3 general election. There are approximately 5,000 17-year-olds registered to vote in Iowa.

“As a former social studies teacher, I applaud this effort to connect with students and build the skills they need to become engaged citizens and lifelong voters,” said Ryan Wise, director of the Iowa Department of Education.

Along with March 3 being a significant date in the presidential nominating process in several states, there are dozens of special elections across Iowa that day.

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