|(Photo Credit: Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office)|
NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration kicked off the second annual Civics Week with a Student Voter Registration Drive on March 2, at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City. As part of the City’s commitment to increase civic engagement, during Civics Week, DemocracyNYC representatives, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and the Department of Education registered first-time student voters in high schools and colleges across the city from March 2-6.
Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, and the Mayor's Public Engagement Unit Director Omar Khan and Councilmember Jimmy van Bramer visited high school students today to discuss the importance of civic engagement and participation in the democratic process.
“Our students are the future leaders of our City, and what we do now to empower them to vote will strengthen our democracy for years to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I encourage all students to register and show up at the polls on Election Day because their voice matters.”
“Our future depends on engaging more youth in the democratic process,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “With 16- and 17-year-olds now able to pre-register to vote, we are working to ensure as many young people as possible can participate and lead change in our communities and the nation.”
“Across the City, our schools are hosting voter registration drives, participatory budgeting, town halls, and other activities that get students of all ages engaged in the democratic process,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “I’m thrilled to kick off Civics Week this election year by encouraging as many students as possible to register to vote!”
Civics Week is part of the Department of Education’s Civics for All initiative, which teaches students about the foundations of American government and the democratic process. During Civics Week, students at public schools have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including youth voter registration drives, participatory budgeting for their schools, public speaking competitions, and town halls on issues that matter to them and their communities.
This year, for the first time in New York, 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote, meaning they will automatically be registered when they turn 18-years-old, allowing more students to participate in future elections.
“Civics Week is a great opportunity to help recruit the next generation of leaders and to engage with young people about the importance of civic participation and voting,” said Laura Wood, DemocracyNYC Special Counsel. “Volunteers from city agencies and community-based organizations will be in high school classrooms in every borough for the next week, encouraging students to become life-long voters and engaged members of their communities.
DemocracyNYC thanks our critical partners for their efforts in this city-wide mobilization to empower youth to join in the democratic process.”
“Our democracy is strongest when it represents everyone, and we take seriously our responsibility to make that a reality for all New Yorkers, including the next generation of voters,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Director Omar Khan. “I’m proud that we are leading the charge to increase participation in our elections, and that PEU’s proactive outreach efforts will positively impact so many students during this Student Voter Registration Drive.”
“Through initiatives like Civics for All and DemocracyNYC, we not only educate young people on how to have their voices heard but work to empower them,” said the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Marco A. Carrión. “This city depends on the next generation knowing how to use their power.”
“At the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, we prioritize community empowerment because we know how critical education about your rights and exercising your voice through civic participation is to realizing a more inclusive, equitable, and just world for all of us,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Through this Civics Week initiative, we are helping to prepare young New Yorkers from diverse families to fully participate in decisions that will impact their lives and their communities.”
“Civics Week is about supporting youth as they step into their power,” said NYC Chief Service Officer Anusha Venkataraman. “Youth already lead our city and build community to support various causes - from climate justice to ending violence. By registering to vote, young people will not only ensure their voices count now but also develop a lifelong practice of civic engagement.”
Since the inaugural Student Voter Registration Drive in 2015, tens of thousands of students have been registered to vote at hundreds of high schools throughout New York City. In just the past two years, DemocracyNYC, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and the Department of Education registered nearly 30,000 students.
During this year’s Student Voter Registration Drive, DemocracyNYC and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, in partnership with NYC Votes, will also mobilize a broad coalition of partners, including the Civic Engagement Commission, the Community Affairs Unit, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office Immigrant Affairs and community-based organizations such as Dominicanos USA and League of Women Voters to register students to vote in high schools and colleges across the five boroughs.
“Civics Week gives young people the tools to empower themselves and their friends to participate fully in New York City’s democracy,” said Sabrina Castillo, Director of Partnerships and Outreach, New York City Campaign Finance Board. “NYC Votes is committed to providing data and voter registration best practices to these student leaders so they become powerful voting advocates in their communities.”
The next citywide elections in New York City will be the Presidential Primary and the Special Election for the 37th Council District in Brooklyn on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The deadline to register to vote for the Presidential Primary is April 3. The state, local and federal Primary Election is on June 23, 2020. The general election is on November 3, 2020. There will be nine days of early voting before all these elections. New Yorkers who need to register to vote can do so through the DMV online, by mail or in-person at a New York City Board of Elections Office. New Yorkers who are interested in registering to vote, need to update their existing registration, or want more information on the upcoming elections can call 311 or visit www.voting.nyc.