League of Women Voters of Saratoga County

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First VoteFirst Vote

2016 First Vote Activities

Most high school students turn 18 years old in or soon after their senior year in high school. Research shows that if young people vote in the first election after they are eligible to vote, they are likely to continue voting. If they do not register and vote at age 18, they will probably not start voting until they are much older, well established in their careers, and have a family. The young peoples' voter turnout rate is the lowest rate in our state of extremely low voting rates. New York ranks 49 out of the 50 states in voter turnout at the polls.

LWV of Saratoga County is encouraging our youth to start voting at 18. This year we have supplied voting materials for 1650 seniors in 10 county high schools. Three high schools were not interested in receiving the materials. Each school got copies of NYS voter registration forms and two league booklets, "First Vote- A Guide for New Voters in NYS" and "Your Right to Vote in NY State- College Students." These materials were delivered to the teachers of the Principles in Government classes. This is a class required for all high school seniors. The materials are supplied free to the high schools because of contributions to the league's education fund from members and supporters.

We give a big THANK YOU to everyone who made a contribution to the education fund to support this youth program. Thank you also goes to Marian Bigelow and her First Vote committee, Helen and Bill Crawshaw, Donna Dardaris and Darnell Rohrbaugh. If you know a young person, encourage them to register and vote.

Voting 101: A PowerPoint presentation (PDF version) on the history of voting, rights with thanks to the League of Women Voters of Wayne County.

First Vote is a project of the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County that reaches out to graduating high school seniors in Saratoga County to provide them with information about voting. Voting is a complex challenge for new voters, but whether the students remain in the county or attend colleges outside the area, the League provides straightforward information on voting and voter registration.

When asked, the League provides each senior with copies of the following:

There is no charge for these materials. State Farm generously underwrites the costs of this program. The League sends letters to the heads of schools in the county, asking them to pass along the letter and sample pamphlet and flier to teachers in their social studies department. High school social studies teachers request and distribute materials provided by the League.

The goal of First Vote is to motivate young people to engage in their rights and responsibilities as voters, and to provide them with the information they need to do so. In 2009, approximately 2,000 students in ten schools received League materials.

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