TOPEKA, Kan. –The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County announced today that it is launching an extensive voter registration campaign at area high schools in order to engage students who will be 18 years old by the Nov. 6 General Election.
“One quarter of the electorate is made up of 18- to 29-year-olds,” said Glennie Buckley, chair of the high school registration project, “and that could be a lot of power in the future.”
The deadline to register to vote in Kansas is Tuesday, Oct. 16, one week earlier than during the last General Election.
“We want to give a lot of credit to the superintendents, principals and teachers we contacted in the high schools of Shawnee County, who want to teach their students the importance of voting and civic engagement,” she said. “Every one of them was enthusiastic and supportive.”
League volunteers have scheduled a time at each school between Sept. 19 through Sept. 25, which is National Voter Registration Day, to be available to register any student who will be 18 by Nov. 6. Either a Driver’s License number or the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number is required to register.
Voter Registration Times at Shawnee County High Schools:
Sept. 19, Highland Park High, 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
Sept. 20, Topeka High, 11:15a.m. -1:20 p.m.
Sept.21, Topeka West High, 11:15a.m. -1:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, National Voter Registration Day:
Hayden High, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Rossville High, 11:15 a.m.
Seaman High, 11:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Shawnee Heights, 10:30 a.m. -12:50 p.m.
Silver Lake High, 11:30 a.m.
Washburn Rural, 7:15 - 8:00 a.m.; 11:45 a.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Washburn Tech, 9:15a.m. -11:15 p.m. ; 11:45 a.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Hope Street, 11:30 a.m. – the day after Sept 25
Capital City – to be scheduled in early Oct.
[Please check with any high school about any time changes before visiting]
Local organizations involved in the National Voter Registration campaign include the NAACP, KNEA, Topeka Association of Black Social Workers, and the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice. National Voter Registration Day is nonpartisan and also supported by Nonprofit VOTE, Voto Latino, Rock the Vote, Tumblr, YWCA and other civic partners across the country.
“A lot of attention is paid to campaign trail rhetoric and sound bites. But the real stakes of this election are much higher,” said Marge Ahrens, president of the local League of Women Voters. “This election is about everyone standing up for things that matter most to us and our families. Whether we care most about college affordability, job opportunities, or our country’s place in the world, we all deserve the chance to weigh in and make our vote count. That means registering and voting,” she said.
League of Women Voters volunteers have registered 1283 voters since April of 2011 at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and other public venues in the county. In three days in late August, the League registered 90 voters at Washburn University.
“We believe the work to register voters is needed now more than ever,” said Ahrens. “Voter registration is a critical step in making sure our voter rolls—and our halls of power—actually reflect the diversity of our communities.” According to Census data, nonpartisan groups like the League are responsible for registering large numbers of voters who otherwise would have been left out of the voting process - including young people, new citizens and those without economic resources or transportation to get to registration offices.
“We hope to be part of a national effort to bring tens of thousands new voters onto the rolls,” said Ahrens.
In October, a Candidates Forum inviting 2nd District Congressional Race candidates Lynn Jenkins (Rep.), Tobias Schlingensiepen (Dem.) and Dennis Hawver (Lib.) is being co-sponsored by the League and KTWU-Channel 11.
For answers to questions posted by the League for candidates, visit www.VOTE411.org. For more information about other local League events, visit www.lwvtsc.org.