A record 31 Iowa high schools, including three here in our immediate listening area, earned a state award this spring for significant achievements in registering students to vote.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is the state’s top elections official. “We’ve had 31 schools who have gotten the Carrie Chapman Catt Award this year out of almost 300 schools in this entire state,” Pate says. “So it’s a significant honor, registering 90% of your eligible students. It’s the start for these young people so they become voters and be a big part of our state.”
Pate says nearly 34,000 high school students statewide are registered to vote this year. “Young people have stepped up aggressively and not only in voter registration but voter turnout, I mean, they’re voters,” Pate says. “The past two elections, we’ve seen record numbers of young people coming out and I think that speaks well to their wanting to be a part of what elections are, making sure their voices are heard and we encourage them to continue to do that.”
Pate says the current voter participation trend among Iowa high school students is impressive when compared with previous generations. “We’re in the top ten states in the country when it comes to voter registration and actually going out and voting,” Pate says. “Our young people here are joining in that and we’re very happy to see that. I think it’s because they’re tuning into what’s going on, but I also give credit to their families, encouraging them to be part of their community, the schools themselves, and the quality of education they’re getting.”
The award is named after the famous Iowan who was instrumental in securing the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women access to the ballot box 100 years ago.