In a few years, you will be 18-years-old and able to vote. It is also a presidential election year, and a year in which Colorado chooses a new U.S. Senator, and all the seats we hold in the House of Representatives are on the ballot as well. In American history, women and 18-year-olds have not always had the right to vote (or run as a candidate for office), but now they do, and you will. It will not only be your right to vote, but a wonderful way to honor the women who fought for our right to vote in every election. Voting is also the best (and easiest) way to tell the government where you stand on the issues and whom you think is best able to make decisions that will affect you and your sister Girl Scouts. In the Senior Behind the Ballot Badge, we will explore the way people get elected to office, and the importance of voting both here at home and around the world.
Step Three: Get Out the Vote
The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the legal voting age from 21 to 18. Yet, in the 2016 election, less that 50% of voters under 30 cast a ballot. While this is the only age group to have election turnout increase since the 2012 election, it is still the age group with the lowest turn-out by far. Choose one or more activities to help increase the voter turnout of young Americans.
Research and create a poster. Explain the voter registration process you learned in Step Two, including the motor voter registration, which makes it easier for any American with a state issued driver’s license or identification card to register to vote. Include the other ways there are to vote, including a link to online voter registration.
Make a Voting Calendar. It can be paper, electronic, in app form, or to be integrated into social media. Please include local, state, and federal elections for your county. You might also include nonpartisan websites and references where any voter can get truthful and unbiased information about candidates and issues.
Educate! Get a sample ballot from a recent election, and use it as a tool to show young voters in Colorado how easy it is to fill out and return a ballot, who won in the last election, and how their vote is important. Include data on the winners, and how many people voted for each candidate or issue.
We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.