The League of Women Voters of Chattanooga has been awarded a grant from the LWV US to the LWV Chattanooga that aims to engage high school, community college, and/or vocational school students in the electoral process.
In just a matter of weeks, and with the cooperation of a number of those schools, the league has been able to register 249 seniors to vote, so far, with more anticipated registrations to come.
The 2019 Youth Voter Registration Project has been active since 2010 and is one of several core voter registration programs for LWV.
This year 60 leagues from around the country are recipients of the grant, the largest year ever.
The grant requires the LWV Chattanooga to schedule voter registration activities at 10 local Hamilton County school classrooms. Members emphasize the importance of every single vote
to listening students by using the example of Hamilton County Commissioner Katherlyn Getter who won her seat by 15 votes.
Young people are an increasingly influential part of the electorate. In 2016, Americans under 30 represented almost a quarter of the overall American electorate, yet nearly half did not vote.
Exit polling has shown that young people participate in significantly larger numbers when they are directly contacted by an organization or have the opportunity to interact with candidates for office. “We believe the key to democracy is an enlightened public,” said Sharon Alexander,
co-president of the league. “We all have a stake in the future, particularly young people.”
Efforts to engage young people are supported by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
The League encourages people to register, obtain photo IDs, and participate in the democratic process. “No one should feel disenfranchised, everybody should count, everyone should be represented by government,” said Teresa Garland, the league’s voter chairperson.