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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 11, 2014 03:27 PM
From: Representative Ronald G. Waters
To: All House members
Subject: Empowering PA’s Youth: Student Voter Registration Act
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to annually provide Pennsylvania’s school districts with voter registration forms and require the Department to track how many high school students register to vote through this process.

In an effort to encourage civic participation by young people, several states have changed their voter registration rule. In Hawaii, eligible 16-year-olds are allowed to pre-register so that their voter registration status is automatically activated at age 18. States like Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Texas open pre-registration to 17-year-olds.

Because students in effect are “captive audiences”, high schools are an ideal place for engaging young people and incorporating them into our representative democracy. Lack of participation results in a “disengagement cycle” that becomes difficult to break. Therefore, having common sense practices to fully engage our young people in voter registration process is crucial.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Germaine Brown in my Harrisburg Office via email (GBrown@pahouse.net) or by calling 717-783-4090

Introduced as HB2197