What is “Vote18?" About 10 years ago, LWVWP initiated Vote 18, an interactive voting lesson. League volunteers lead the students through the two hundred years plus journey of the history of voting, from our country’s inception to the present. Next, the students conduct a debate and hold a mock election to promote a discussion of current events and timely issues. Then students are taught how to fill out a voter registration form; the eligible students are registered to participate in the next election.
Why the Title “Vote 18?” Were you 21 years old when you cast your first Vote? The Constitution, ratified in 1789, doesn’t say how old someone had to be to vote; the powers to set voting requirements were left to the states.
Then how did we set 18 as the national standard? In 1941, President Roosevelt lowered the draft age to 18. During the 1960s young men were drafted to fight in the Vietnam War and there was a growing political activism among young Americans. Voting age became the rallying cry, ”old enough to fight, old enough to vote.” Ted Kennedy proposed amending the voting rights act in 1970 to lower the age to 18 nationally. Richard Nixon signed it the same year. But it took a ruling in the Supreme Court to make the 26th amendment a possibility. This amendment had the fastest path to ratification of in US history!!
How Is Vote 18 Program Accomplished? The Short Answer---With your support!
- LWVWP members find their emails filled with requests to “Sign-up” for Vote 18.
- “First time” volunteers are asked to attend a zoom training session.
- During the Spring, volunteers visit several high schools and colleges to present the “Vote 18” program, register seniors and give out “First Time Voter” brochures.
- Lastly, we tally; we ask our volunteers to evaluate.What was good? How can we improve?
“Vote 18” is a win-win program!
- Young people learn the long tradition, evolution and importance of voting.We hope they will exercise their voting right in the very next election and become life-long voters.
- We need facilitators (volunteers) to bring “Vote 18” to 5 local schools; many League members look forward to participating.
- Our community partners, the local NAACP chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha women’s sorority, and Westchester Women’s Agenda join LWVWP’s efforts to register our young people.
“Voting is not a spectator sport.” Read “Headlines”; click the links, encourage our students to participate in the most basic civil engagement…VOTING.
Doris Dingott, President
lwvwp.president [at] gmail.com