As the 2018 midterm election season is in full effect, candidates are traversing political districts and throughout the Commonwealth to garner enthusiasm and reach voters. As voter registration is a big part of any campaign, emphasis will placed on new voters next week as April 22-28 is High School Student Voter Registration Week in Virginia.
Throughout next week, students, teachers, staff, and administrators at Virginia high schools will be highly encouraged to host voter registration drives. Resources are available through the website of the Virginia Department of Elections to help students and teachers plan and conduct voter registration efforts.
Currently, Virginia law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote. Though, they must turn 18 on or before the general election set to be held on November 6. They also have an opportunity to vote in any intervening primary elections.
According to a report from NBC 29, State Education Secretary Atif Qarni explained that statewide voter registration drives offer an opportunity to highlight the importance of preparing students to become engaged and thoughtful citizens.
The deadline to register to vote in the June 12 primary elections is May 21.
The addition of high school voters next week will bolster the influence of young voters and the largest bloc of voting citizens in the U.S. – Millennials.
As Millennials are projected to surpass the Baby Boomer generation next year as the largest living generation of adults, they are also edging closer to becoming the country’s largest share of the electorate. According to a Pew Research report, as of November 2016, Millennials represented 27 percent of the voting-eligible population, while Baby Boomers comprised approximately 31 percent.
Nevertheless, high school students who will be registered next week are considered to be a part of “Generation Z,” or “Post-Millennials,” all of whom were born near the turn of the 21st century. As the electorate is concerned, they are typically grouped in with Millennials, who are the youngest and newest voting group in America.