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CVIA Launches U.S. Bill by High Schoolers, for High Schoolers

Samad Quraishi speaks on Capitol Hill, advocating for Congress to increase civic education programmes nationwide to expand youth engagement in government for the High School Voter empowerment Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Centre for Voters Initiative & Action celebrates and endorses the introduction of the High School Voter Empowerment Act in Congress. The bill aims to register secondary school students to vote nationwide, by designating schools as voter registration agencies under federal law. Furthermore, the bill entails provisions to reimburse schools for the costs of hosting these drives.

The Centre is proud to have been leading efforts for secondary school voter registration legislation since last year. In October 2023, the Centre’s executive team met with the White House’s Counsel to the Vice President, opening dialogue between students and government officials. Over the course of six months, the Centre’s team of students met with 250+ Congressional offices to advocate for the legislation. The result was a leading Senate version of the bill, along with four Senate and seven House sponsors. These efforts were made possible through 20+ full-time student volunteers and 400 volunteers nationwide.

The Centre applauds the support of Senator Laphonza Butler and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson to champion efforts for civic engagement amongst the youth. It is only possible to achieve true change through persistent, meaningful, dialogue. Assistant Director of International Dialogue Vedansh Garg recalls having had to “often leave school early to advocate in Washington to fight for the possibility of [students] to have a seat at the table through electoral education”. Garg missed over ten days of school fighting to advocate for the legislation, and commends “Congressional leaders for taking action to ensure the next generation’s civic education be one to open doors to equality, stability, and happiness”.

Ahead of the 2024 elections, the Centre recognises the importance of this bill, now more than ever, for the entire nation. Studies have shown only half of eligible youth vote in the 2020 election, and that students who “had not received encouragement to vote from teachers in high school were more than twice as likely to agree with the statement “Voting is a waste of time” as those who had been encouraged: 26% vs. 12%”, according to Tufts Centre for Civic Engagement.

The Centre’s Executive Director Samad Quraishi, a secondary school student from Virginia, affirms “the pursuit of democratic stability and proper electoral representation is a relentless task, only made possible through meaningful civic education”. He further believes “this pursuit can only be achieved through pressuring the existing government to educate the future leaders”.

Congress leaders in the United States House and Senate call on the government to allow the High School Voter empowerment to pass


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