Kids walking to school with backpacks on

Governor Ralph Northam announced today the start of the 2019-2020 Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge.

The challenge lets high schools across the Commonwealth jockey to register the highest percentage of eligible voters in their region.

Multiple winners are expected because any school that registers at least 65 percent of its senior class automatically wins a congratulatory certificate from Northam. 

Virginia law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote, as long as they will be 18 on or before the next general election.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe initiated the Governor’s challenge in 2016 in partnership with the Virginia Secretaries of Administration and Education and collaboration with the Virginia Department of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

“Making voter registration easy and accessible and engaging young Virginians in the voting process will help ensure they are active and informed citizens,” Northam said in a release. The more young people that are encouraged to register to vote, the more voices will be heard at the ballot box, he added.

And the earlier in their lives people vote, the more likely they are to become a lifelong voter, said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner.

Schools will get credit for each student who registers to vote using their school’s unique URL via the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal. The challenge concludes on the last week of April 2020.