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Teachers, Registrars to Students: Your Vote Matters

CEA President Sheila Cohen explains CEA’s partnership with Connecticut’s registrars at the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut’s spring conference.

CEA announced today that it has proudly partnered with the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut on a month-long voter registration drive in Connecticut’s high schools, beginning May 1.

The goal of the drive is to encourage all students who will be 18 years of age on or before Election Day—November 6—to register to vote, and because teachers play a significant role in their students’ academic, social, and civic engagement, CEA members are a key part of the effort.

High school teachers throughout the state will be distributing “Register to Vote” stickers, produced by CEA, featuring a web address that takes students directly to the State of Connecticut’s Online Voter Registration System.

Their voice, their vote

Southbury registrar Marie Greene plans to distribute the CEA “Register to Vote” stickers to students in May.

Speaking at the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut’s (ROVAC) spring conference in Cromwell today,

President Sheila Cohen observed, “Teachers know the importance of voting, whether the election involves the budget for our local town or a national education policy in a presidential election. We also know that it often takes a few years of being out of school and working in the community before people see the important connection between voting and what happens in their town, state, and country.”

Registrars eagerly collect packets containing CEA’s “Register to Vote” stickers.

Indeed, although young people make up a large share of the voting-eligible population, they are often underrepresented at the polls. Cohen added, however, that this new generation “just might be different.” Encouraged by student activism on a variety of issues this year, she pointed out, many young people are seeing the connection between voting and empowerment.

And teachers are helping facilitate that understanding. “We teach students how to think critically, stand up for themselves, and communicate with civility and persuasion,” said Cohen. “We celebrate when our students think about the world around them, find their voice, and speak out, and part of what we teach them is that voting is the cornerstone of democracy. We want students to understand that the polls can be a place to transform their hopes, dreams, and priorities into action.”

Lifelong learners, voters

Retired Simsbury teachers Susan and Michael Day, Barkhamsted’s registrar and deputy registrar of voters, are grateful for CEA’s stickers encouraging students to register to vote.

The nonpartisan voter registration drive, led by teachers and local registrars, seeks to ensure that students become fully enfranchised citizens who make their own choice and participate in elections on their terms. Teachers will talk to their students about civic engagement and voter responsibility and let them know about the different ways they can register to vote.

CEA Executive Director Donald Williams noted that young people who register to vote as soon as they are eligible are more likely to vote that first time—and more likely to keep voting in the future. He told the packed room of more than 300 registrars, assistants, and deputies, “We hope that by working together on the voter registration drives in our schools, our efforts will result in enrolling as many new voters as possible.”

Cohen added, “We want voting to be a lifelong habit that begins when students turn 18.”

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