Montpelier. Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz today urged
Vermontís high schools to register students to vote as part of this
yearsí graduation exercises. Secretary Markowitz said, "the activities
surrounding commencement provide a perfect opportunity to welcome our
young people into adulthood by registering them to vote."
"Voter participation nationwide is on a steady decline, particularly among
our youth," said Secretary Markowitz. "It is an even greater concern for
Vermont. While we are proud that our voter turnout rate is one of the highest in
the nation, we lag other states in the participation of our young people."
Markowitz said, "Vermontís youth turnout rate is lower than the national average
in part because Vermont is the only state to require a voter to take an oath
before a Notary Public in order to be eligible to vote. This makes it difficult
for young people who leave Vermont for college or for temporary employment to
register and vote by mail."
Markowitz said "we are asking schools across Vermont to register their high
school seniors because we hope to reach kids before they leave the state for
college." Once a student is registered and has taken the oath, they may vote in
Vermont even if they have left the state for college or employment by requesting
an absentee ballot.
"High school registration has the potential to increase youth involvement in
the democratic process by making voter participation easy," said Secretary
Voter registration forms are available on line at
www.sec.state.vt.us or by calling the
Secretary of Stateís Office at 800-439-8683.