Why is it so important to engage students, who are still in high school, in matters of politics and voting?
In addition to educating youth to be civically engaged and focused as life-ready knowledge, the further impact comes in the form of their increasing numbers and their savviness that rivals no other generation before, especially at such a young age. Pew Research Center cites that one-in-ten eligible voters will be members of Generation Z, the Americans who will be between the ages 18 and 23 this year. They are projected to comprise 10% of the eligible voter group in 2020, whereas the Silent Generation is estimated to dip to 9%. Capturing that 10% is necessary to their unique perspectives and ideals being represented by the next leadership of our nation.
Three years ago, the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award was established by the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education to promote civic involvement among students in Pennsylvania. This award recognizes schools and student ambassadors who offer and encourage voter registration within the schools. This episode features an interview with Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and Community Impact Manager Rachel Boss where we’ll hear more on the award and civic engagement among the commonwealth’s young adults.
Skip to: 01:07 Can you start by briefly describing the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award and its objectives?
Studies show when people start voting early and feel engaged early, they’re much more likely to become life-long voters.
There’s no time that you feel more a part of the cycle of democracy, of really being a part of it, than you do when you’re a poll worker.
Skip to: 03:44 This is the third year that the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education will present the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award. What prompted the creation of this award program?
Skip to: 04:24 How many schools are currently participating in this program?
Skip to: 05:55 What are the challenges that may have hindered schools from organizing these types of programs?
Talking about elections is really vital to teaching civil discourse and helping young people understand how government functions.
Skip to: 07:18 How have students reacted to the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award and its mission?
Skip to: 09:06 Why is it important to hold in-person voter registration events in high schools versus email campaigns or registration events in another setting?
Skip to: 11:52 Is there a way that high school students of all ages can participate in voter registration efforts?
Skip to: 13:42 How can schools educate students about the importance of being civically engaged before they reach voting age?
Skip to: 16:13 What kinds of resources are available and where can school leaders go for more information?
Kathy Boockvar, Secretary of the Commonwealth
Kathy Boockvar was appointed Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth on January 5, 2019, and confirmed by the Senate on November 19, 2019. In this role, Boockvar leads the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Boockvar is an attorney with an extensive background in public interest law and policy, election administration, and nonprofit healthcare administration, and has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she served as senior adviser to the governor on election modernization, leading and managing initiatives to improve security and technology in Pennsylvania’s elections and voting systems, in collaboration with federal, state, and county officials.
Rachel Boss, Community Impact Manager
Rachel Boss joined the Pennsylvania Department of State in 2017 as a William Penn Fellow. In 2019, she was appointed community impact manager in the Bureau of Campaign Finance and Civic Engagement, where she oversees civic engagement programming. She also is the language access coordinator for the department.
Previously, Boss worked in nonprofit legal advocacy organizations in Baltimore, MD. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.